Tinnitus, i.e., the perception of sounds or noise in the absence of auditory stimuli, is a frequent and often severely disabling symptom of different disorders of the auditory system. There are currently no causal treatments. Using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), we have previously demonstrated that the temporoparietal cortex is critically involved in tinnitus perception and that tinnitus can be reduced by rTMS applied to these cortical regions. Therefore, it is reasonable to test rTMS as a potential new treatment strategy against tinnitus. At this stage, small pilot studies indicate some effect on tinnitus impairment but the reduction is predominantly reported to be transient, with high interindividual variability, and questionable clinical relevance. Moreover, the optimal stimulation area is unclear.
Here, we use theta burst stimulation (TBS), a new rTMS paradigm for the prolonged modulation of cortical activity. The aim of this study is to test safety and effectivity of 4 weeks of daily bilateral TBS to two cortical areas on chronic tinnitus compared to sham-stimulation.