Background. This proof-of-concept study investigated a method of multisensory perceptual training for tinnitus, and whether a short, low-dose administration of fluoxetine enhanced training effects and changed neural connectivity. Methods. A double-blind, randomized placebo controlled design with 20 participants (17 male, 3 female, mean age = 57.1 years) involved 30 min daily computer-based, multisensory training (matching visual, auditory and tactile stimuli to perception of tinnitus) for 20 days, and random allocation to take 20 mg fluoxetine or placebo daily. Behavioral measures of tinnitus and correlations between pairs of a priori regions of interest (ROIs), obtained using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), were performed before and after the training. Results. Significant changes in ratings of tinnitus loudness, annoyance, and problem were observed with training. No statistically significant changes in Tinnitus Functional Index, Tinnitus Handicap Inventory or Depression Anxiety Stress Scales were found with training. Fluoxetine did not alter any of the behavioural outcomes of training compared to placebo. Significant changes in connectivity between ROIs were identified with training; sensory and attention neural network ROI changes correlated with significant tinnitus rating changes. Rs-fMRI results suggested that the direction of functional connectivity changes between auditory and non-auditory networks, with training and fluoxetine, were opposite to the direction of those changes with multisensory training and placebo. Conclusions. Improvements in tinnitus measures were correlated with changes in sensory and attention networks. The results provide preliminary evidence for changes in rs-fMRI accompanying a multisensory training method in persons with tinnitus.
- perceptual training