Tinnitus is the term for hearing sounds that come from inside your body, rather than from an outside source.

Tinnitus is not an illness or disease but rather a symptom generated within a persons own auditory pathways. It can affect one or both ears. About a third of patients suffering with tinnitus have no underlying abnormality of the auditory system.

It’s often described as “ringing in the ears”, although several sounds can be heard, including:

  • Buzzing
  • Humming
  • Grinding
  • Hissing
  • Whistling

People may also notice that their hearing is not as good as it used to be or they are more sensitive to everyday sounds (hyperacusis).

Millions of people across the globe experience a reduced quality of life due to tinnitus. The noises may appear worse if you are anxious and stressed. Tinnitus can be a very frightening and frustrating symptom which may lead to reduced concentration, disturbed sleep, anxiety, depression and anger, isolation.

rTMS for Tinnitus

Transcranial magnetic stimulation can be used for the treatment of tinnitus. The idea why it works for tinnitus is that there is increased brain activity causing tinnitus and stimulation to that area can reduced this activity and thereby bring about relief of tinnitus.

The Evidence

In the largest U.S. clinical trial of its kind researchers at the VA Portland Medical Centre and Oregon Health & Science University found that transcranial magnetic stimulation significantly improved tinnitus symptoms for more than half of study participants.

Their findings were published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery.