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PEMF Therapy and Tinnitus
by Richard Hoover
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is an unpleasant sensation of ringing in the ears.
It’s not actually a disease, but a symptom of an underlying condition that
needs to be addressed.
For a majority of people suffering from tinnitus, it is just an annoyance.
Nevertheless, in more serious cases, it can cause difficulties in normal dayto-day activities and affect sleeping, relationships and functioning at work.
It’s a relatively common occurrence: it affects 1 in 10 people.
However, it is more common among the older population, since it impacts
every third North American over the age of 55.
Symptoms of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is defined as the presence of a noise inside of a person’s ears, when
no external auditory stimulation is present.
This is called subjective tinnitus.
There is, however, one circumstance when even the doctor can hear the
sound with a stethoscope.
This happens in the case of objective tinnitus, which is usually caused by a
vascular condition or a muscle cramp.
Tinnitus can be heard in one or in both ears, it can be continuous or
intermittent, quiet or very prominent, in which case it usually leads to
psychological distress.
However, in most cases, the patient describes the sound as:
Causes of Tinnitus
The main cause of tinnitus is damage to the inner ear cells.
Even though the most common cause of this is an age-related loss of
hearing (over the age of 55), tinnitus is frequently seen in the case of:
Exposure to loud noises
Earwax blockage
Changes of the ear bone
Iron and vitamin B12 deficiency
Use of medication that can damage the ear (so-called ototoxic
medicine: gentamicin, furosemide, cisplatin, etc.)
There is an additional type of tinnitus called pulsatile tinnitus.
It’s usually caused by the increased blood flow near the ear, which can be
However, it is sometimes caused by a life-threatening condition.
These conditions include an aneurism or dissection of the carotid artery.
Treatment of Tinnitus
Since tinnitus is usually a symptom of an underlying disease, treating the
primary disease leads to an improvement in most patients.
In cases where tinnitus persists, the approach is either psychological or an
alternative, since there are no medications that can alleviate the symptoms.
The psychological methods include:
Relaxation techniques
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy
In the past couple of years, doctors have been including sound therapy and
so-called tinnitus maskers in the therapy protocol.
These devices are supposed to mask the tinnitus, by adding artificial sounds
into a patient’s environment.
The noise that it’s added, is usually white noise.
PEMF and Tinnitus
The benefits of Pulse Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) can be used on
the whole body, including the ear and head area.
When applied to the head area, PEMF is used via rTMS (repetitive
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation).
This alternative method is proven to be effective in many cases, where
traditional medicine isn’t effective.
Tinnitus is one of those cases.
Taking medicine can usually alleviate the symptoms of many diseases.
However, in the case of tinnitus, modern medication has been proven to be
There are many attempts by doctors to use antidepressants,
benzodiazepines and melatonin to treat tinnitus.
However, there is still no effective medication for tinnitus.
Traditional medication is only helpful in cases, where severe tinnitus leads to
a great deal of psychological distress and consequential anxiety and
PEMF imitates the Earth’s magnetic field and can, therefore, repair the
tissues on a cellular level.
This is beneficial to the those suffering from tinnitus, since its main cause is
the damage to the inner ear cells.
There is a plethora of available and ongoing research that shows the benefits
of using PEMS/rTMS as a method to help people who suffer from tinnitus.
In the next section of this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best
examples of the use of PEMF for tinnitus in a scientific setting.
Short-term Effects of PEMF/rTMS on Tinnitus
This 2013 Korean study was performed at Kyung Hee University School of
Medicine in Seoul.
Its aim was to determine if there are any short-term results of using lowfrequency rTMS on patients with tinnitus.
The researchers only included the most severe cases of tinnitus, the socalled intractable tinnitus (1).
The sample consisted of 15 participants with intractable tinnitus, who
received 1 Hz rTMS treatment.
Two scales were used in assessing the severity of tinnitus – a visual
analogue scale (VAS) and a tinnitus handicap inventory (THI), after real rTMS
or after the treatment with a placebo.
In the beginning, there was no difference between these two scores,
compared to real rTMS and a placebo.
Nonetheless, after the researchers applied five treatments of real rTMS,
there was a statistically significant difference between this group and a
placebo group.
The patients displayed a significant change in both THI and VAS score, after
being treated with rTMS.
The scientists concluded that because 8 out of 15 patients showed
improvement after treatment with 1 Hz rTMS, this method can be used as a
reliable treatment option for intractable tinnitus.
The Effects of PEMF/rTMS on Chronic, Both-sided Tinnitus
This placebo-controlled pilot study was conducted at the University of
Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
The researchers stated that one of the reasons for tinnitus is the neural
hyperactivity in the part of the brain called the auditory cortex.
This part of the brain is responsible for hearing. Since we know that rTMS
can help in the treatment of tinnitus, the scientists were trying to determine,
if there are any other effects of rTMS on the part of the brain that is
responsible hearing (2).
This 2013 study was designed as a placebo-controlled pilot study.
Its aim was to show if a 1Hz rTMS applied to the part of the brain called
Brodmann Area 41 (BA41) influences the ability of auditory processing of
individuals with chronic, bilateral tinnitus.
The patients were randomized and received either real rTMS or placebo
treatment to the BA41 area of their brain.
Similar to the previous study in this article, the level of tinnitus was measured
using the tinnitus handicap inventory (THI).
The measurements were performed seven days before the rTMS treatment,
and seven days, one, two and three months after the treatment.
None of the groups showed any improvement in the beginning, but the
group with real rTMS started to show some improvement between seven
days and one month after the stimulation.
At the end of the study, three out of four patients in the rTMS group and
none of the patients from the placebo group showed statistically significant
improvement of their tinnitus scores.
One can conclude that the findings from this study prove that 1 Hz rTMS
can help with tinnitus and auditory processing, when it’s applied to the BA41
area of the brain.
rTMS/PEMF Treatment Improves Tinnitus Up to Four Weeks After the
Another Asian study (conducted in Singapore) wanted to prove if the effects
of rTMS would be beneficial to patients with tinnitus (3).
The researchers included patients suffering from tinnitus without significant
hearing loss.
They compared a 1 Hz rTMS with either a thousand or two thousand
stimulations per day over the left part of the brain, that is responsible for
hearing (auditory cortex).
They then performed weekly measurements of tinnitus severity, by using the
previously mentioned THI.
The study protocol included a total of 28 patients. ANOVA statistical analysis
was used to determine the statistical difference between the groups.
Compared to a baseline THI score, scores measured after every week of
post rTMS treatment showed a statistically significant lower THI score.
Over the four-week period, the application of rTMS reduced the tinnitus
score in the range of 15-25%.
There was also a notable change between both one and two thousand
stimulations per day, but this change wasn’t statistically significant.
This study has confirmed the safety and effectiveness of rTMS in improving
tinnitus in patients with no significant hearing loss.
This effect lasts up to four weeks after the initial treatment.
The Effect of PEMF/rTMS on Tinnitus Suppression
This retrospective European study was performed at the University Hospital
Antwerp in Belgium.
The researchers’ hypothesis was that rTMS causes cortical reorganization,
which may help in tinnitus suppression (4).
A total of 114 patients that suffered from one-sided tinnitus were included in
the study protocol.
The researchers used a 1, 3, 5, 10, and 20 Hz rTMS, with 200 stimulations for
each session.
The reactions were classified as good response, partial and no effect.
The results of the study showed that 25% of the patients showed a good
effect, and 28% a partial effect of rTMS.
The duration of tinnitus also influenced the results.
Tinnitus that lasted longer, needed a lower frequency of rTMS.
The researchers concluded that rTMS applied over the auditory cortex, can
alter the tinnitus perception.
However, this effect is only present for a short period of time.
The Effect of Triple-site PEMF/rTMS on Chronic Tinnitus
This European study was conducted at the University of Regensburg in
Germany (5).
German researchers speculated that tinnitus might be related to the neural
network changes in some regions of the brain (prefrontal, parietal or
That is why the rTMS that they performed, only involved these three regions
of the brain.
The protocol included 49 patients who either received the triple-site or onesite treatment (over their left temporoparietal area of the brain).
The severity of tinnitus was measured before the rTMS stimulation, at the
12th day, and at the 90th and 180th follow-up day.
The tinnitus questionnaire was used.
The results among both groups showed a large reduction in the level of
However, the group with the triple-site stimulation performed much better
and showed a greater effect in tinnitus reduction.
The effects of this study confirm the findings from previous studies: rTMS
treatment has the ability to lessen the severity of tinnitus.
The Effect of PEMF/rTMS on Hearing Function and Tinnitus
As previously mentioned, the loss of hearing and tinnitus usually occur
That is why the researchers from Shenyang, China conducted the study
which was intended to show if the application of rTMS would benefit patients
with the combination of both hearing loss and tinnitus (6).
This 2015 study included patients with sudden senso-neurinal hearing loss
(SSHL), who didn’t react to the conventional therapy methods
(corticosteroid therapy – SCT and hyperbaric oxygen – HBO therapy).
Each of these patients received 1 Hz rTMS spread out over 20 sessions.
In the end, the group that was treated with rTMS+SCT+HBO therapy showed
a much better result in both hearing function improvement and tinnitus
reduction, than the group without rTMS treatment.
The researchers also performed the single photon emission computed
tomography (SPECT) which showed that rTMS might have helped in the
diminishing of the cerebral brain flow.
The researchers conclude their report by stating that rTMS seems to be a
practical and efficient therapy method for patients suffering from SSHL.
Tinnitus is a relatively common occurrence, especially in the population over
Since it is a symptom of an underlying condition, taking care of the primary
disease usually gets rid of tinnitus.
However, in some cases of persisting tinnitus, it can lead to psychological
issues and affect one’s concentration, sleeping and relationships.
In the end, tinnitus can lead to anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, tinnitus is one of the conditions where traditional medicine
isn’t very helpful.
There are no medications that effectively alleviate the symptoms.
There are some methods of psychotherapy that can help, but they are
usually expensive and time-consuming.
That is why more people are turning to alternative methods. PEMF is an
excellent example, since it is effective, safe and has no side effects.
PEMF works on a cellular level and has the ability to restore the inner ear
cells, whose damage is the primary cause of tinnitus.
When applied over the auditory cortex, PEMF has the ability of helping in
both short-term and chronic tinnitus. It can also alleviate the hearing loss.
Richard Hoover
Richard Hoover is a PEMF expert and content contributor to
PEMF Advisor. With a bachelor’s degree in physics and
multiple certifications in natural health programs, he is one
of the best PEMF experts around.