The occurrence of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) affects not only cochlear activity but also neural activity in the central auditory system. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) above the auditory cortex has been reported to improve auditory processing and to reduce the perception of tinnitus, which results from network dysfunction involving both auditory and non-auditory brain regions. SSHL patients who were refractory to standard corticosteroid therapy (SCT) and hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy received 20 sessions of 1 Hz rTMS to the temporoparietal junction ipsilateral to the symptomatic ear (rTMS group). RTMS therapy administered in addition to SCT and HBO therapy resulted in significantly greater recovery of hearing function and improvement of tinnitus perception compared SCT and HBO therapy without rTMS therapy. Additionally, the single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) measurements obtained in a subgroup of patients suggested that the rTMS therapy could have alleviated the decrease in regional cerebral brain flow (rCBF) in SSHL patients. RTMS appears to be an effective, practical, and safe treatment strategy for SSHL.
Zhang, D., & Ma, Y. (2015). Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation improves both hearing function and tinnitus perception in sudden sensorineural hearing loss patients. Scientific Reports, 5. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep14796