Research Article - The International Tinnitus Journal (2019) Volume 23, Issue 1
A preliminary study on the efficacy and safety of low level light therapy in the management of cochlear tinnitus: A single blind randomized clinical trial
Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of low-level light therapy (LLLT) using new irradiation parameters for chronic unilateral tinnitus with cochlear dysfunction.
Design: A single-blind, randomized clinical trial
Setting: Tertiary-care hospital center
Participants: Participants who had a history of chronic unilateral tinnitus (≥ 3 months) and pure-tone thresholds greater than 15dB (averaged for 3k, 4k, and 6k Hz).
Main outcome measures: Numerical rating scales (NRS) measuring loudness, duration, and annoyance, the tinnitus handicap inventory (THI), and psychoacoustical matches of tinnitus loudness and minimum masking levels (MML).
Results: Thirty-eight participants were received either a 100-mW diode laser at 830-nm (TINI group; n=19) or placebo (sham group; n=19) irradiation through the tympanic membrane. No adverse events were reported during 2 weeks of 10-interventions (20 minutes/day, five days/week). The NRS measuring duration of tinnitus and psychoacoustical matches of tinnitus loudness significantly decreased over times in the TINI group (p<0.05). However, post-hoc analysis revealed that there was no significant decrease of tinnitus among different time points (baseline, during LLLT,immediately after LLLT, and two weeks after LLLT). There was no placebo effect in the Sham group. Participants who improved the duration by at least one point or improved the loudness matches by more than 5 dB SL two weeks after LLLT tended to have worse pure-tone thresholds. It may suggest that further study is needed in patients with worse pure-tone thresholds to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of LLLT.
Author(s): Ji Eun Choi, Min Young Lee, Phil-Sang Chung, Jae Yun Jung