Name of treatment

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)

Type of treatment

Physical intervention/device

Claims for treatment

tDCS is a form of neuromodulation in which a low intensity direct current passes the brain tissues through a pair of electrodes placed on the scalp..

How treatment is delivered

Via device – treatment patterns vary as to number of sessions, duration of sessions and to current used.

Potential negative consequences

No serious adverse effects were reported in clinical trials with tinnitus patients.1

Evidence offered:

Papers available

34 (as per systematic review)[1]

Conclusions drawn

The current literature shows moderate to significant therapeutic efficacy of tDCS on tinnitus symptoms. Further randomised placebo-controlled double-blind trials with large sample sizes are needed to reach a definitive conclusion on the efficacy of tDCS for tinnitus1

Quality of evidence[2]


Does the BTA recommend this treatment?

No, until more high quality evidence is available

BTA opinion on this treatment:

This treatment appears to be promising, but currently, there is limited evidence to support the use of tDCS.

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?

Yes, provided study is of high quality and large sample size

Verdict: Safety - is this treatment harmful?

  Regarded as safe

Verdict: Efficacy - does this treatment work?

  No evidence of effect

[1] Yuan T, Yadollahpour A, Salgado-Ramírez J, Robles-Camarillo D, Ortega-Palacios R. Transcranial direct current stimulation for the treatment of tinnitus: a review of clinical trials and mechanisms of action. BMC Neurosci. 2018;19(1):66. Published 2018 Oct 25. doi:10.1186/s12868-018-0467-3

[2] 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

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Updated 11 June 2019