Objectives: Tinnitus can adversely affect patients' quality of life. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may be effective in the management of tinnitus. No study has investigated the efficacy of TENS for the management of tinnitus by means of quality of life measures. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of TENS for the management of tinnitus symptoms by using the visual analogue scale (VAS), tinnitus handicap inventory test, Nottingham health profile (NHP) and short form-36 (SF-36) questionnaires.
Methods: Twenty-two patients were included in this study (male/female, 16/6; mean age, 48.04 ± 15.57 years). Nine patients had unilateral and 13 patients had bilateral tinnitus.
Results: After TENS, improvement measured by VAS was only marginally significant (p = 0.059). However, after TENS, there were statistically significant improvements regarding tinnitus severity scores, tinnitus handicap inventory scores, NHP fatigue, social isolation and emotional problems scores, and many parameters measured by the SF-36 (physical functioning, general health, vitality, social functioning, role limitations due to emotional problems, and mental health)(p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a useful method to improve the quality of life of patients with tinnitus.