Auditory Cortex tACS and tRNS for Tinnitus: Single Versus Multiple Sessions
Tinnitus is the perception of a sound in the absence of an external acoustic source, which often exerts a significant impact on the quality of life. Currently there is evidence that neuroplastic changes in both neural pathways are involved in the generation and maintaining of tinnitus. Neuromodulation has been suggested to interfere with these neuroplastic alterations. In this study we aimed to compare the effect of two upcoming forms of transcranial electrical neuromodulation: alternating current stimulation (tACS) and random noise stimulation (tRNS), both applied on the auditory cortex. A database with 228 patients with chronic tinnitus who underwent noninvasive neuromodulation was retrospectively analyzed. The results of this study show that a single session of tRNS induces a significant suppressive effect on tinnitus loudness and distress, in contrast to tACS. Multiple sessions of tRNS augment the suppressive effect on tinnitus loudness but have no effect on tinnitus distress. In conclusion this preliminary study shows a possibly beneficial effect of tRNS on tinnitus and can be a motivation for future randomized placebo-controlled clinical studies with auditory tRNS for tinnitus. Auditory alpha-modulated tACS does not seem to be contributing to the treatment of tinnitus.