Tinnitus is a ear condition that currently affects approximately 45 million U.S. citizens.
Thankfully, a new medical trial used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation or rTMS to alleviate tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus is described by specialists as the booming or ringing sensation in either one or both ears. While it is believed tinnitus could be a symptom of Meniere’s disease or of an ear infection, the symptoms of tinnitus include a constant buzzing sound or ringing in the patient’s ears.
The results of the medical trial conducted on 70 tinnitus patients using rTMS to alleviate the condition were published in the JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery online journal on July 16th.
Indeed, approximately 45 million U.S. citizens suffer from tinnitus, with veterans being most predisposed to this condition. Nonetheless, no treatment is yet available in the U.S.
Thus, Robert L. Folmer of the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Oregon and fellow researchers took on the task of conducting a randomized clinical trial to determine the effects of rTMS on tinnitus.
70 participants were chosen for the trial, with the analyses conducted on 60. A test group received placebo treatment, while the trial group received 2,000 rTMS pulses daily for a period of 10 days.
The results of the trial indicated that 56 percent of the group that received active rTMS responded well to the treatment. 22 percent of those in the placebo group also responded to the rTMS treatment.
The results also constituted the base of the Tinnitus Functional Index, comprising post-rTMS treatment results and baseline rates for further reference.
Ph.D. Robert Folmer stated:
“For some study participants, this was the first time in years that they experienced any relief in symptoms. These promising results brings us closer to developing a long-sought treatment for this condition that affects an enormous number of Americans, including many men and women who have served in our armed forces”.
The beneficial results of rTMS on tinnitus were sustained over the follow up period of 26 weeks. Although this is an important indication that rTMS is successful for treating tinnitus, it will take a while until the therapy could become widely available.
Treatment protocols and larger studies must be conducted before the procedure could be advised clinically to tinnitus patients, according to the researchers.
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