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Investigating the Efficacy of an Individualized Alpha/Delta Neurofeedback Protocol in the Treatment of Chronic Tinnitus


Güntensperger, Dominik; Thüring, Christian; Kleinjung, Tobias; Neff, Patrick; Meyer, Martin (2019). Investigating the Efficacy of an Individualized Alpha/Delta Neurofeedback Protocol in the Treatment of Chronic Tinnitus. Neural Plasticity, 2019:3540898.

Abstract

First attempts have demonstrated that the application of alpha/delta neurofeedback in the treatment of chronic tinnitus leads to a reduction of symptoms at the group level. However, recent research also suggests that chronic tinnitus is a decidedly heterogeneous phenomenon, one that requires treatment of distinct subgroups or even on an individual level. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate an individually adjusted alpha/delta neurofeedback protocol. Following previous studies, the delta band fixed between 3 and 4 Hz was chosen as the frequency for inhibition. However, unlike the previous studies, the frequency range for the rewarded alpha band was not fixed between 8 and 12 Hz but rather individually determined according to each patient’s specific alpha peak frequency (IAF). Twenty-six chronic tinnitus patients participated in 15 weekly neurofeedback training sessions and extensive pre- and post-tests, as well as follow-up testing 3 and 6 months after training. The main outcome measures were tinnitus-related distress measured with the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ), tinnitus loudness, and pre- and post-training resting-state EEG activity in trained frequency bands. In Results, the neurofeedback protocol led to a significant reduction of tinnitus-related distress and tinnitus loudness. While distress remained on a low level even 6 months after the completion of training, loudness returned to baseline levels in the follow-up period. In addition, resting-state EEG activity showed an increase in the trained alpha/delta ratio over the course of the training. This ratio increase was related to training-induced changes of tinnitus-related distress as measured with TQ, mainly due to increases in the alpha frequency range. In sum, this study confirms the alpha/delta neurofeedback as a suitable option for the treatment of chronic tinnitus and represents a first step towards the development of individual neurofeedback protocols.

Abstract

First attempts have demonstrated that the application of alpha/delta neurofeedback in the treatment of chronic tinnitus leads to a reduction of symptoms at the group level. However, recent research also suggests that chronic tinnitus is a decidedly heterogeneous phenomenon, one that requires treatment of distinct subgroups or even on an individual level. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate an individually adjusted alpha/delta neurofeedback protocol. Following previous studies, the delta band fixed between 3 and 4 Hz was chosen as the frequency for inhibition. However, unlike the previous studies, the frequency range for the rewarded alpha band was not fixed between 8 and 12 Hz but rather individually determined according to each patient’s specific alpha peak frequency (IAF). Twenty-six chronic tinnitus patients participated in 15 weekly neurofeedback training sessions and extensive pre- and post-tests, as well as follow-up testing 3 and 6 months after training. The main outcome measures were tinnitus-related distress measured with the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ), tinnitus loudness, and pre- and post-training resting-state EEG activity in trained frequency bands. In Results, the neurofeedback protocol led to a significant reduction of tinnitus-related distress and tinnitus loudness. While distress remained on a low level even 6 months after the completion of training, loudness returned to baseline levels in the follow-up period. In addition, resting-state EEG activity showed an increase in the trained alpha/delta ratio over the course of the training. This ratio increase was related to training-induced changes of tinnitus-related distress as measured with TQ, mainly due to increases in the alpha frequency range. In sum, this study confirms the alpha/delta neurofeedback as a suitable option for the treatment of chronic tinnitus and represents a first step towards the development of individual neurofeedback protocols.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Otorhinolaryngology
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Neurology
Health Sciences > Neurology (clinical)
Language:English
Date:26 March 2019
Deposited On:04 Apr 2019 10:32
Last Modified:15 Apr 2020 23:38
Publisher:Hindawi Publishing Corporation
ISSN:0792-8483
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/3540898

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