Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 226, Issue 1, pp 25–31 | Cite as

Comparing immediate transient tinnitus suppression using tACS and tDCS: a placebo-controlled study

  • Sven VannesteEmail author
  • Vincent Walsh
  • Paul Van De Heyning
  • Dirk De Ridder
Research Article


Tinnitus is an auditory phantom percept with a tone, hissing, or buzzing sound in the absence of any objective physical sound source. Two forms of low-intensity cranial electrical stimulation exist for clinical and research purposes: transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS). In a recent study, it was demonstrated that a single session of tDCS over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) (anode over right DLPFC) yields a transient improvement in subjects with chronic tinnitus and that repeated sessions can possibly be used as a treatment. In the present study, the effect of a single-session individual alpha–modulated tACS and tDCS applied at the DLPFC bilaterally is compared with tinnitus loudness and tinnitus annoyance. A total of fifty tinnitus patients were selected and randomly assigned to the tACS or tDCS treatment. Our main result was that bifrontal tDCS modulates tinnitus annoyance and tinnitus loudness, whereas individual alpha-modulated tACS does not yield a similar result. This study provides additional insights into the role of DLPFC in tinnitus modulation as well as the intersection between tinnitus and affective/attentional processing.


tACS tDCS Tinnitus Frontal 



The authors received funds from Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Tinnitus Research Initiative (TRI), and Royal Society Industry Fellowship (VW).

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven Vanneste
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Vincent Walsh
    • 3
  • Paul Van De Heyning
    • 2
    • 4
  • Dirk De Ridder
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Brai²n, TRI and Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity Hospital AntwerpEdegemBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Translational Neuroscience, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  3. 3.Institute of Cognitive NeuroscienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Brai²n and Department of ENT, TRI Tinnitus ClinicUniversity Hospital AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  5. 5.Department of Surgical Sciences, Dunedin School of MedicineUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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