Similarities Between Treatments of Tinnitus and Central Pain

  • Dirk De Ridder
  • Aage R. Møller


  1. 1.

    Neurobiology, pathophysiology, neuroimaging, and clinical presentation share many common aspects between neuropathic pain and tinnitus.

  2. 2.

    Similar treatments for pain and tinnitus exist, but pharmacological methods are more successful for treatment of pain than for treatment of tinnitus.

  3. 3.

    Peripheral and intracranial ablative neurosurgical treatments yield common results and complications for pain and tinnitus.

  4. 4.

    The most promising analogous treatments for pain and tinnitus are non-invasive and invasive methods for neuromodulation, such as various forms of brain stimulation using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).

  5. 5.

    TENS, for stimulation of peripheral nerves, and neurofeedback, have beneficial effects on both pain and tinnitus.

  6. 6.

    Invasive neuromodulatory treatments such as coch­lear implants, dorsal column stimulation/auditory brainstem implant, subthalamic nucleus stimulation, and sensory cortex stimulation are beneficial for both tinnitus and pain.



Tinnitus Central pain Treatment Cortical stimulation Peripheral nerve stimulation Transcranial magnetic stimulation Transcranial direct current stimulation 



Auditory brainstem implant


Cochlear implant


Deep brain stimulation


Dorsal cochlear nucleus


Dorsal column spinal cord stimulation


Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex




Functional MRI


Magnetic resonance imaging


Magnetic source imaging


Microvascular decompression


Positron emission tomography


Repetitive TMS


Subthalamic nucleus


Transcranial direct current stimulation


Transderm electric nerve stimulation


Transcranial magnetic stimulation


Trans cranial magnetic stimulation


Ventral tegmental area


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TRI Tinnitus Clinic Antwerp, BRAI²N & Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity Hospital AntwerpEdegemBelgium

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