Self-Administered Domiciliary tDCS Treatment for Tinnitus : A Double-Blind Sham-Controlled Study

Petteri Hyvärinen, Antti Mäkitie, Antti A. Aarnisalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
125 Downloads (Pure)


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has shown potential for providing tinnitus relief, although positive effects have usually been observed only during a short time period after treatment. In recent studies the focus has turned from one-session experiments towards multi-session treatment studies investigating long-term outcomes with double-blinded and sham-controlled study designs. Traditionally, tDCS has been administered in a clinical setting by a healthcare professional but in studies involving multiple treatment sessions, often a trade-off has to be made between sample size and the amount of labor needed to run the trial. Also, as the number of required visits to the clinic increases, the dropout rate is likely to rise proportionally. The aim of the current study was to find out if tDCS treatment for tinnitus could be patient-administered in a domiciliary setting and whether the results would be comparable to those from in-hospital treatment studies. Forty-three patients with chronic (> 6 months) tinnitus were involved in the study, and data on 35 out of these patients were included in final analysis. Patients received 20 minutes of left temporal area anodal (LTA) or bifrontal tDCS stimulation (2 mA) or sham stimulation (0.3 mA) for ten consecutive days. An overall reduction in the main outcome measure, Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), was found (mean change -5.0 points, p <0.05), but there was no significant difference between active and sham treatment outcomes. Patients found the tDCS treatment easy to administer and they all tolerated it well. In conclusion, self-administered domiciliary tDCS treatment for tinnitus was found safe and feasible and gave outcome results similar to recent randomized controlled long-term treatment trials. The results suggest better overall treatment response-as measured by THI-with domiciliary treatment than with in-hospital treatment, but this advantage is not related to the tDCS variant. The study protocol demonstrated in the current study is not restricted to tinnitus only.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0154286
Number of pages15
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed




Dive into the research topics of 'Self-Administered Domiciliary tDCS Treatment for Tinnitus : A Double-Blind Sham-Controlled Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this