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May 2017

The Case for a Definitive Multisite, Randomized Clinical Trial of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Tinnitus

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock
  • 2Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017;143(5):441-442. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2016.4055

The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) published clinical practice guidelines for tinnitus in 20141 and stated that clinicians should not recommend repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for the routine treatment of patients with persistent bothersome tinnitus. This recommendation was based on a review of single-site experimental studies and small randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that often represented initial attempts to demonstrate safety and efficacy or to explore new treatment variables. Mixed results in these studies may be attributable to heterogeneity in study designs, patient samples, and outcome measures.