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Unresolved Issues Associated with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Treatment of Chronic Tinnitus.

Folmer RL. Unresolved Issues Associated with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Treatment of Chronic Tinnitus. Journal of clinical medicine. 2023 Jul 12; 12(14).

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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been investigated as a potential treatment for chronic tinnitus for 20 years. Numerous studies have reported that repetitive TMS (rTMS) has demonstrated efficacy for reducing the severity of tinnitus and its associated co-conditions such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia. However, some researchers have reported that active rTMS is no more effective than sham (placebo) rTMS as a tinnitus treatment method. There are numerous unresolved issues in this field that need to be addressed before rTMS can become a viable treatment for tinnitus. These issues include the type or brand of TMS system and its configuration; coil type, orientation, and placement method; scalp or neural target; laterality of rTMS application; dual site vs. single site stimulation; stimulation frequency and intensity; number of sessions; number of pulses per session; determination of the resting motor threshold (rMT); characteristics of the study population and their tinnitus; and outcome measures and follow-up assessments. To address and resolve these issues, large-scale, multi-site clinical trials of rTMS for tinnitus need to be conducted to determine which rTMS protocols are the most effective. In the absence of such investigations, the issues that need to be studied and addressed remain unresolved and continue to impede the clinical application of this treatment method.

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