Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Effectiveness of bimodal auditory and electrical stimulation in patients with tinnitus: A feasibility study

Spencer, Shikha; Mielczarek, Marzena; Olszewski, Jurek; Sereda, Magdalena; Joossen, Iris; Vermeersch, Hanne; Gilles, Annick; Michiels, Sarah

Effectiveness of bimodal auditory and electrical stimulation in patients with tinnitus: A feasibility study Thumbnail


Shikha Spencer

Marzena Mielczarek

Jurek Olszewski

Iris Joossen

Hanne Vermeersch

Annick Gilles

Sarah Michiels


Background: Tinnitus is a common symptom, affecting about 10–15% of the adult population. When input from the somatosensory system can influence and/or elicit tinnitus, this type of subjective tinnitus is called somatosensory tinnitus. Recently, a new type of bimodal neurostimulation treatment has shown promising results for a specific subgroup within the somatosensory tinnitus population. It is, however, not clear if this bimodal stimulation is also effective in patients with other types of subjective tinnitus. Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of non-invasive bimodal auditory-somatosensory stimulation in reducing tinnitus severity among a general population of people with subjective tinnitus. Methods: Chronic subjective tinnitus patients were recruited from the ENT department of the Antwerp University Hospital. Somatosensory stimulation was delivered by Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), and it was combined with auditory stimulation via headphones. The therapy comprised six sessions of thirty minutes twice a week for a period of 3 consecutive weeks. Follow up measurements were scheduled 9–12 weeks after the last treatment session. The change of the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) score, a questionnaire evaluating tinnitus burden and effects on the quality of life, was the primary outcome measure. Results: Twenty-nine patients were enrolled in the study. A linear mixed-effects model was used to analyze the efficacy of bimodal treatment. The results of this analysis showed a statistically significant decrease (by 6, 9 points) in average TFI score at the follow up visit when compared to baseline. The ability to modulate tinnitus did not have an influence on the treatment results. Conclusion: Our study showed that bimodal stimulation is a feasible and safe method of tinnitus treatment. The method might be an effective treatment for some participants with tinnitus, especially those who have accompanying neck/temporomandibular problems, although, the evidence from this trial is quite weak. Additional research is needed toward establishing the optimal treatment protocol, as well as selecting the most appropriate inclusion criteria.


Spencer, S., Mielczarek, M., Olszewski, J., Sereda, M., Joossen, I., Vermeersch, H., …Michiels, S. (2022). Effectiveness of bimodal auditory and electrical stimulation in patients with tinnitus: A feasibility study. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 16, Article 971633.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 5, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 24, 2022
Publication Date Aug 24, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 3, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 4, 2022
Journal Frontiers in Neuroscience
Print ISSN 1662-4548
Electronic ISSN 1662-453X
Publisher Frontiers Media SA
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Article Number 971633
Keywords General Neuroscience
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations