Neurofeedback for subjective tinnitus patients

Andrea Crocetti a, Stella Forti b,*, Luca Del Bo a
a Fondazione Ascolta e Vivi, Via Foppa 15, 20144 Milan, Italy
b Audiology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Via Pace 9, 20122 Milan, Italy

Abstract
Objective: Previous studies report that enhanced power in the delta range (1.5–4 Hz) and reduced power in the alpha frequency band (8–12 Hz) were most pronounced in the temporal regions. These studies referred to the 8–12 Hz activity as tau activity, and they created a new neurofeedback protocol to treat tinnitus using a temporally generated tau rhythm (8–12 Hz) and slow waves in the delta range (3–4 Hz) for feedback. This study aims to repeat this protocol and to evaluate its effect on tinnitus.
Methods: Fifteen normal-hearing patients with tinnitus were treated with the neurofeedback protocol. The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory and Visual Analogue Scales were administered before and after treatment and at 1, 3 and 6 months post-treatment.
Results: After therapy, all questionnaires scores were significant improved, and the improvements persisted throughout the followup period. Moreover, an increasing trend in the tau/delta ratio was observed; specifically, the trend was more stable respect of the pre-recording measure. However, only in some subjects may the signal alone be enough to develop the correct behaviors.
Conclusion: Further studies are necessary to characterize the tinnitus subjects who recovered from and adapted to this psychophysical condition and, therefore, responded to neurofeedback therapy.

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