Effect of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Patients With Tinnitus: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review

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Objectives:Subjective tinnitus is a phantom sensation experienced without any external source of sound that profoundly impacts the quality of life. Some investigations have claimed that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) reduces tinnitus, but studies on tDCS have demonstrated variable results. This meta-analysis aimed to examine the effect of tDCS on patients with tinnitus.Methods:We searched for articles published through January 5, 2016, in Medline, Cochrane, EMBASE, and Google Scholar using the following keywords: tinnitus, transcranial direct current stimulation, and tDCS. The study outcomes were change in magnitude estimates of loudness (loudness), tinnitus-related distress (distress), and Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI).Results:Pooled results demonstrated that tDCS did not have a beneficial effect on loudness (pooled standardized difference in means = 0.674, 95% CI, –0.089 to 1.437, P = .083). Further, the pooled results demonstrated a greater reduction in distress for the tDCS group (pooled standardized difference in means = 0.634, 95% CI, 0.021-1.247, P = .043).Conclusions:We conclude that the pooled results demonstrated a greater reduction in distress for groups treated with tDCS as compared with those administered a sham treatment.

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