Chronic tinnitus, noise or ringing in the ears, is a symptom associated with many forms of hearing loss or other health problems. There are no effective treatments for this condition, which can become so severe that it may be difficult to hear, work, or even sleep.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are now testing a non-invasive treatment – transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – to target overactive areas in the brain responsible for tinnitus. TMS was recently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of depression and has been extensively tested in Europe for tinnitus.

Michael Ruckenstein, MD, Professor of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine, will lead the study, in conjunction with John O’Reardon, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Penn’s Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Program. Study participants will undergo 4 weeks (20 sessions) of TMS sessions to see if the treatment improves tinnitus. For those who respond, there will be a 3 month extension phase (8 sessions – 4 in month 1, 2 each in months 2 and 3).

Adults may be eligible for the trial if they have had chronic tinnitus for more than 6 months and do not have any neurological or psychiatric conditions. For more information on this study, please contact 215-614-0036.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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