High Definition transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (HD-tDCS) for chronic tinnitus: outcomes from a prospective longitudinal large cohort study

Laure Jacquemin, Griet Mertens, Shekhawat Giriraj Singh, Paul Van de Heyning, Olivier M. Vanderveken, Vedat Topsakal, Willem De Hertogh, Sarah Michiels, Jolien Beyers, Julie Moyaert, Vincent Van Rompaey, Annick Gilles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) aims to induce cortical plasticity by modulating the activity of brain structures. The broad stimulation pattern, which is one of the main limitations of tDCS, can be overcome with the recently developed technique called High-Definition tDCS (HD-TDCS).Objective Investigation of the effect of HD-tDCS on tinnitus in a large patient cohort.Methods This prospective study included 117 patients with chronic, subjective, non-pulsatile tinnitus who received six sessions of anodal HD-tDCS of the right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC). Therapy effects were assessed by use of a set of standardized tinnitus questionnaires filled out at the pre-therapy (Tpre), post-therapy (T3w) and follow-up visit (T10w). Besides collecting the questionnaire data, the perceived effect (i.e. self-report) was also documented at T10w.Results The Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) and Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ) total scores improved significantly over time (pTFI < .01; pTQ < .01), with the following significant post-hoc comparisons: Tpre vs. T10w (pTFI < .05; pTQ < .05) and T3w vs. T10w (pTFI < .01 ; pTQ < .01). The percentage of patients reporting an improvement of their tinnitus at T10w was 47%. Further analysis revealed a significant effect of gender with female patients showing a larger improvement on the TFI and TQ (pTFI < .01; pTQ < .05).Conclusions The current study reported the effects of HD-tDCS in a large tinnitus population. HD-tDCS of the right DLPFC resulted in a significant improvement of the tinnitus perception, with a larger improvement for the female tinnitus patients.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.Clinical TrialNCT04565132Funding StatementThe present research is financially supported by VLAIO (Agentschap Innoveren en Ondernemen) and a research grant from the FWO (Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk onderzoek Vlaanderen, Egmontstraat 5, 1000 Brussels) (T001916 N).Author DeclarationsI confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.YesThe details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:The Committee for Medical Ethics of the University Hospital Antwerp approved the study (B300201630084). All participants gave written informed consent prior to any treatment.All necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.YesI understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).YesI have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.YesData can be made available on request
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
Publication statusSubmitted - 2 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

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