Objectives: Evidence of plastic changes in tinnitus has been demonstrated in functional brain imaging. Although repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been shown to decrease steady-state auditory evoked fields (SSAEFs) in tinnitus, the long-term consequence remained unknown. In addition, association between plastic changes as reflected by hemispheric asymmetry and tinnitus handicap inventory (THI) before and after rTMS have not been addressed. Methods: Twelve tinnitus patients received rTMS and 12 received sham stimulation. Another 12 healthy participants served as the normal hearing controls. Patients responded to the THI before the 1st session and at one month after the final session of rTMS/sham stimulation. Changes in brain activity were assessed by measuring SSAEFs. Results: SSAEFs remained decreased one month after rTMS compared to before treatment, along with a significant reduction in THI score. There was no significant effect between the index of hemispheric asymmetry and THI score. Conclusions: The current study objectively demonstrated the long-term effects of rTMS on tinnitus using SSAEFs. A longitudinal study to develop an index using SSAEFs to assess the subjective severity of tinnitus is warranted. Significance: This study suggests the possible use of SSAEFs to assess the long-term effects of rTMS on tinnitus.
- Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL)
- Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
- Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
- Steady-state auditory evoked fields (SSAEFs)