There is widespread recognition that consistency between research centres in the ways that patients with tinnitus are assessed and outcomes following interventions are measured would facilitate more effective co-operation and more meaningful evaluations and comparisons of outcomes. At the first Tinnitus Research Initiative meeting held in Regensburg in July 2006 an attempt was made through workshops to gain a consensus both for patient assessments and for outcome measurements. It is hoped that this will contribute towards better cooperation between
Modulation of activity in the left temporoparietal area (LTA) by 10 Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) results in a transient reduction of tinnitus. We aimed to replicate these results and test whether transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of LTA could yield similar effect. Patients with tinnitus underwent six different types of stimulation in a random order: 10-Hz rTMS of LTA, 10-Hz rTMS of mesial parietal cortex, sham rTMS, anodal tDCS of LTA, cathodal tDCS of LTA and sham tDCS. A non-parametric analysis of variance showed a significant main effect of type of stimulation (P = 0.002) and post hoc tests showed that 10-Hz rTMS and anodal tDCS of LTA resulted in a significant reduction of tinnitus. These effects were short lasting. These results replicate the findings of the previous study and, in addition, show preliminary evidence that anodal tDCS of LTA induces a similar transient tinnitus reduction as high-frequency rTMS.
Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an acoustic external stimulus. It affects 10–17% of the world's population and it a complex symptom with multiple causes, which is influenced by pathways other than the auditory one. Recently, it has been observed that tinnitus may be provoked or modulated by stimulation arising from the somatosensorial system, as well as from the somatomotor and visual–motor systems. This specific subgroup – somatosensory tinnitus – is present in 65% of cases, even though it tends to be underdiagnosed. As a consequence, it is necessary to establish evaluation protocols and specific treatments focusing on both the auditory pathway and the musculoskeletal system.
Objective: To evaluate the frequency of tinnitus onset (in normal subjects) and modulation (in tinnitus patients) during muscle contractions, estimating possible risk factors. Material and Method: This case-control study enrolled 121 tinnitus patients and 100 healthy volunteers who underwent medical history, ENT examination and 16 maneuvers of muscular contraction (head, neck and limbs). Modulation data were compared between patients with and without normal audiometry, well-defined diagnosis and symptoms of craniomandibular disorders. Results: The ability to modulate tinnitus (65.3%) was significantly higher than that to originate tinnitus (14.0%). The head and neck musculature was significantly more efficient than that of the limbs. Audiometric pattern, well-defined etiology and symptoms of craniomandibular disorders showed no relation to tinnitus modulation. Conclusions: Somatic modulation is a characteristic aspect of tinnitus.
These results support the potential of rTMS as a new therapeutic tool for the treatment of chronic tinnitus, by demonstrating a significant reduction of tinnitus complaints over a period of at least 6 months and significant reduction of neural activity in the inferior temporal cortex, despite the stimulation applied on the superior temporal cortex.
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