Jump to Main Content
Neuromodulation for tinnitus treatment: an overview of invasive and non-invasive techniques
- Peter, Nicole, Kleinjung, Tobias
- Journal of Zhejiang University 2019 v.20 no.2 pp. 116-130
- brain, counseling, electrical treatment, health care workers, medicine, nerve tissue, neurons, patients, quality of life, transcranial magnetic stimulation, vagus nerve
- Tinnitus is defined as a perception of sound without any external sound source. Chronic tinnitus is a frequent condition that can affect the quality of life. So far, no causal cure for tinnitus has been documented, and most pharmacologic and psychosomatic treatment modalities aim to diminish tinnitus’ impact on the quality of life. Neuromodulation, a novel therapeutic modality, which aims at alternating nerve activity through a targeted delivery of a stimulus, has emerged as a potential option in tinnitus treatment. This review provides a brief overview of the current neuromodulation techniques as tinnitus treatment options. The main intention is to provide updated knowledge especially for medical professionals counselling tinnitus patients in this emerging field of medicine. Non-invasive methods such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial electrical stimulation, neurofeedback, and transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation were included, as well as invasive methods such as implanted vagus nerve stimulation and invasive brain stimulation. Some of these neuromodulation techniques revealed promising results; nevertheless, further research is needed, especially regarding the pathophysiological principle as to how these neuromodulation techniques work and what neuronal change they induce. Various studies suggest that individually different brain states and networks are involved in the generation and perception of tinnitus. Therefore, in the future, individually tailored neuromodulation strategies could be a promising approach in tinnitus treatment for achieving a more substantial and longer lasting improvement of complaints.