Bimodal Auditory-Somatosensory Stimulation May Reduce Tinnitus

Long-term depression-inducing stimulus associated with reduction of tinnitus in guinea pigs, humans

man plugging his ears

THURSDAY, Jan. 4, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Bimodal auditory-somatosensory stimulation that induces long-term depression (LTD) in the dorsal cochlear nucleus appears promising for individuals with tinnitus, according to a study published online Jan. 3 in Science Translational Medicine.

Kendra L. Marks, Au.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues delivered repeated bimodal auditory-somatosensory stimulation to the dorsal cochlear nucleus of guinea pigs with tinnitus. The stimulus interval chosen was known to induce LTD.

The researchers found that 20 minutes a day of LTD-inducing bimodal stimulation was correlated with a reduction in the physiological and behavioral evidence of tinnitus after 25 days, while unimodal stimulation was not. A double-blind, sham-controlled, crossover study was conducted applying the same bimodal treatment to 20 human subjects with tinnitus. Tinnitus loudness and intrusiveness were reduced with 28 days of LTD-inducing bimodal stimulation. Neither benefit was delivered by unimodal auditory stimulation.

"Bimodal auditory-somatosensory stimulation that induces LTD in the dorsal cochlear nucleus may hold promise for suppressing chronic tinnitus," the authors write.

Two authors are named on a U.S. patent for personalized auditory-somatosensory stimulation to treat tinnitus.

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