The impact of deep brain stimulation on tinnitus

Jasper Smit*, Mark Janssen, M. Engelhard, R.M. de Bie, P. R. Schuurman, M.F. Contarino, A. Mosch, Yasin Temel, Robert Stokroos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Tinnitus is a disorder of the nervous system that cannot be adequately treated with current therapies. The effect of neuromodulation induced by deep brain stimulation (DBS) on tinnitus has not been studied well. This study investigated the effect of DBS on tinnitus by use of a multicenter questionnaire study.Tinnitus was retrospectively assessed prior to DBS and at the current situation (with DBS). From the 685 questionnaires, 443 were returned. A control group was one-to-one matched to DBS patients who had tinnitus before DBS (n = 61). Tinnitus was assessed by the tinnitus handicap inventory (THI) and visual analog scales (VAS) of loudness and burden.The THI decreased significantly during DBS compared to the situation prior to surgery (from 18.9 to 15.1, P <.001), which was only significant for DBS in the subthalamic nucleus (STN). The THI in the control group (36.9 to 35.5, P = 0.50) and other DBS targets did not change. The VAS loudness increased in the control group (5.4 to 6.0 P <.01).DBS might have a modulatory effect on tinnitus. Our study suggests that DBS of the STN may have a beneficial effect on tinnitus, but most likely other nuclei linked to the tinnitus circuitry might be even more effective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S848-S854
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Issue numberSuppl 35
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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