Research ArticleTINNITUS

Bimodal neuromodulation combining sound and tongue stimulation reduces tinnitus symptoms in a large randomized clinical study

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Translational Medicine  07 Oct 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 564, eabb2830
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abb2830

eLetters is an online forum for ongoing peer review. Submission of eLetters are open to all. Please read our Terms of Service before submitting your own eLetter.

Compose eLetter

Plain text

  • Plain text
    No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Author Information
First or given name, e.g. 'Peter'.
Your last, or family, name, e.g. 'MacMoody'.
Your email address, e.g. higgs-boson@gmail.com
Your role and/or occupation, e.g. 'Orthopedic Surgeon'.
Your organization or institution (if applicable), e.g. 'Royal Free Hospital'.
Statement of Competing Interests
CAPTCHA

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Vertical Tabs

  • RE: Response to eLetter by Goehring et al. submitted on October 28, 2020 and published on November 26, 2020.
    • Hubert Lim, Chief Scientific Officer, and Professor, Neuromod Devices Limited, and University of Minnesota

    Brendan Conlon (1,2,3), Berthold Langguth (4,5), Caroline Hamilton (1), Stephen Hughes (1), Emma Meade (1), Ciara O Connor (1), Martin Schecklmann (4,5), Deborah A. Hall (6,7,8), Sven Vanneste (9,10), Sook Ling Leong (1,10), Thavakumar Subramaniam (3), Shona D’Arcy (1), and Hubert H. Lim (1,11,12)

    1. Neuromod Devices Limited, Dublin D08 R2YP, Ireland.
    2. School of Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin D02 R590, Ireland.
    3. Department of Otolaryngology, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin D08 NHY1, Ireland.
    4. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, Regensburg 93053, Germany.
    5. Interdisciplinary Tinnitus Center of University of Regensburg, Regensburg 93053, Germany.
    6. National Institute for Health Research Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK.
    7. Hearing Sciences, Division of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK.
    8. University of Nottingham Malaysia, Selangor 43500, Malaysia.
    9. Lab for Clinical and Integrative Neuroscience, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX 75080, USA.
    10. Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin D02 PN40, Ireland.
    11. Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
    12. Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

    Dear Edito...

    Show More
    Competing Interests: The authors providing this eLetters response are the previous authors of the referenced published paper. Competing/financial interests of the authors have been specified in the published paper.
  • RE: Bimodal neuromodulation combining sound and tongue stimulation reduces tinnitus symptoms in a large randomized clinical study
    • Dr Tobias Goehring, Senior Research Associate / MRC Fellow, Cambridge Hearing Group, MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, UK
    • Other Contributors:
      • Dr Lorna F. Halliday, Principal Research Associate / MRC Senior Fellow, Cambridge Hearing Group, MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, UK
      • Dr Robert P. Carlyon, Deputy Director / Programme leader, Cambridge Hearing Group, MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, UK
      • Prof Brian C. J. Moore, Emeritus Professor of Auditory Perception, Cambridge Hearing Group, University of Cambridge, UK

    Dear Editors,

    Tinnitus affects millions of people world-wide and is a major health problem. There is no proven cure, and therefore scientific research to find effective treatments is very important. A recent study published by Conlon et al (1) reported statistically significant, sustained improvements in symptoms in a group of 326 adults with chronic tinnitus, following a novel treatment that involved sounds being paired with electrical stimulation of the tongue. This study has generated substantial interest in the media, as well as among scientists, clinicians, and patients. However, we disagree with the authors’ interpretation that the outcomes show that their intervention is effective at treating tinnitus.

    The treatment presented by Conlon et al (1) employs bimodal stimulation of the somatosensory and auditory systems, and is based on a pilot study by Marks et al (2). It uses a medical device that consists of a controller, an electrical contact array for stimulation of the tongue, and wireless headphones for sound presentation. The device administers paired electrical and auditory stimulation for up to 60 minutes per day, with participants enrolled in the study undertaking two 30-minute treatment sessions per day over 12 weeks. The rationale that this might be effective for treating tinnitus is based on the idea that paired stimulation of the somatosensory and auditory systems leads to long-term neural plasticity in parts of the auditory system, such as t...

    Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE:

    This is fantastic news for people, like me, who have tinnitus. I've had ringing all my life, even as a child I thought that the ringing was natural when all was silent. Recent years the ringing has been getting very bothersome, and I would be highly interested in seeing if I could recreate this treatment on my own home. Thank you so much for doing this research!

    Competing Interests: None declared.

Stay Connected to Science Translational Medicine