Name of treatment

Laser therapy (low level laser therapy; medium level laser therapy; Tinnitool; EarLaser; soft laser)

Type of treatment

Physical intervention

Claims for treatment

Reduces/eliminates the tinnitus percept. 

How treatment is delivered

Low level laser is targeted at the ear/cochlear either behind the ear or through the ear canal.

Potential negative consequences

Generally regarded as safe due to low power (similar output to a laser pointer).

Evidence offered:

Papers available

<20

Conclusions drawn

Low level laser therapy is no better than placebo[1] [2]

Medium level laser therapy cannot be regarded as an effective treatment of chronic tinnitus[3]

Quality of evidence[4]

B

Does the BTA recommend this treatment?

No

BTA opinion on this treatment:

There is evidence that this treatment does not work. There is no plausible mechanism for this treatment to work.

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?

No

Verdict: Safety - is this treatment harmful?

  Generally regarded as safe

Verdict: Efficacy - does this treatment work?

  Evidence of no effect

[1] Dehkordi MA, Einolghozati S, Ghasemi SM, Abolbashari S, Meshkat M, Behzad H. Effect of low-level laser therapy in the treatment of cochlear tinnitus: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Ear Nose Throat J. 2015 Jan;94(1):32-6.

[2] Ngao CF, Tan TS, Narayanan P, Raman R. The effectiveness of transmeatal low-power laser stimulation in treating tinnitus. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 May;271(5):975-80. doi: 10.1007/s00405-013-2491-3. Epub 2013 Apr 19.

[3] Dejakum K, Piegger J, Plewka C, et al. Medium-level laser in chronic tinnitus treatment. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:324234. doi:10.1155/2013/324234

[4] A = Systematic review/meta analysis. B = Randomised control studies. C = Cohort studies. D = Case control studies. E = case studies/reports. +/- to be used to indicate quality within bands

Download this information:

Tinnitus_and_laser_therapy_June_2019.pdf

Updated 11 June 2019

Photo: press handout