Bastyr Center for Natural Health, Seattle, Washington
Health Information
Overview Health Conditions and Concerns Conditions A-M Conditions N-Z Healthy Lifestyle Tips Bastyr Health-E News News and Events Recommended Reading List Recipes National and Community Resources
Schedule an appointment today
Ears | New Treatment May Improve Tinnitus Discomfort

New Treatment May Improve Tinnitus Discomfort

Tinnitus, an unwanted noise in the ear such as a ringing or humming sound, can lead to insomnia, interfere with work, and cause psychological distress. A new study suggests that a treatment known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation may decrease tinnitus in certain people.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation refers to a technique that stimulates the nerve cells (neurons) in the brain, which can lead to a change in the way the brain functions. This process of stimulating the brain to change its function is known as “neuromodulation.” Specifically, a coiled wire is placed against the patient’s head and electrical currents are sent through the wire and directed at a specific region of the brain. This therapy has been studied in a number of conditions including psychiatric disorders, pain syndromes, and tinnitus. The exact mechanism by which the technique works is not known.

In the latest study, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 16 people with moderate to severe tinnitus were randomly assigned to receive repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (treatment group) or a sham technique (control group).

The majority of people had tinnitus that was related to hearing loss. The treatment group received high-intensity repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to the brain for one hour each day for five days. The control group had the coil directed at the same region of the brain but tilted so that the magnetic field could not have a therapeutic effect.

The treatment group experienced a significant improvement in their level of tinnitus discomfort that lasted up to two weeks. Tinnitus discomfort did not significantly improve in the control group. “At the moment, clinical implications are limited, since the benefit lasts a few days,” notes Simone Rossi, MD, PhD, lead author from the Department of Neuroscience, Policlinico Le Scotte in Siena, Italy. “However, the approach is promising to better investigate pathogenetic mechanisms of tinnitus, thereby providing new clues for a better treatment.”

Tinnitus may affect a person’s quality of life and may even be disabling for some. Dr. Rossi is hopeful that further research will lead to a better understanding of the role of this technique in tinnitus treatment. The next step, she said, could be to identify possible candidates for surgical implants of neurostimulators, which might interfere with tinnitus generation. She noted that similar approaches are already used to treat people who have chronic pain that does not respond to medication.

October 11, 2007

(J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2007;78:857–63)

Learn more about the services provided by Bastyr Center for Natural Health, or schedule your appointment today.

Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, Web sites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker.

Copyright © 2007 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Healthnotes® content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Healthnotes, Inc. Healthnotes Newswire is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Healthnotes, Inc. shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. HEALTHNOTES and the Healthnotes logo are registered trademarks of Healthnotes, Inc.

Learn More About It

1 | 2 |

Find a Provider

Want to find the provider that's right for you? Learn more about our health care providers.  »

Bastyr Center Disclaimer

The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.


Appointments: 206.834.4100
Bastyr Center clinic appointments

Submit a contact request or call us to schedule an appointment »

Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego

Are you looking for Bastyr University Clinic, our new teaching clinic in San Diego? More »

Learn More About Our Services

Natural medicine can treat many types of conditions including:

More treatable health conditions »

Bastyr Center healthcare providers

Interested in finding a provider who's right for you? We recommend that your first visit at BCNH be with a Naturopathic Medicine Provider. »

Home  | Health Information  | Health Care Services  | Our Providers  | Patient Care  | Dispensaries

About BCNH  | Contact Us  | Appointments  | Privacy Policy  | Site Map | Bastyr University