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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 427941, 7 pages
Research Article

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Tinnitus Patients: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis

1Brain, TRI & Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Antwerp, Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650 Edegem, Belgium
2Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul 110-744, Republic of Korea
3Department of Translational Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, University of Antwerp, 2650 Edegem, Belgium
4Brain, TRI & ENT, University Hospital Antwerp, Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650 Edegem, Belgium
5Department of Surgical Sciences, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand

Received 29 August 2012; Accepted 24 September 2012

Academic Editors: Caroline Barwood, Nira Mashal, and Nora Weiduschat

Copyright © 2012 Jae-Jin Song et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has already been used to manage tinnitus patients, paucity of reports and variations in protocols preclude a comprehensive understanding. Hence, we conducted a meta-analysis based on systemic review to assess effectiveness of tDCS in tinnitus management and to compare stimulation parameters. PubMed was searched for tDCS studies in tinnitus. For randomized controlled trials (RCTs), a meta-analysis was performed. A total of 17 studies were identified and 6 of them were included in the systemic review and 2 RCTs were included in the meta-analysis. Overall 39.5% responded to active tDCS with a mean tinnitus intensity reduction of 13.5%. Additionally, left temporal area (LTA) and bifrontal tDCS indicated comparable results. Active tDCS was found to be more effective than sham tDCS for tinnitus intensity reduction (Hedges' , 95% confidence interval 0.23–1.31). The efficacy of tDCS in tinnitus could not be fully confirmed by the current study because of the limited number of studies, but all studies included in the current systemic review and meta-analysis demonstrated significant tinnitus intensity improvement. Therefore, tDCS may be a promising tool for tinnitus management. Future RCTs in a large series regarding the efficacy as well as the comparison between LTA- and bifrontal tDCS are recommended.