Transdermal lidocaine as treatment for chronic subjective tinnitus: A pilot study

Daniel C. O'Brien, Aaron D. Robinson, Nancy Wang, Rodney C Diaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the efficacy of transdermal lidocaine as a treatment for chronic subjective tinnitus as measured by the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI). Study design: Pilot, prospective efficacy trial. Setting: Tertiary care hospital. Patients: Men and women, over the age of 18 with chronic subjective tinnitus for >6 months. Intervention: Daily application of commercially available transdermal lidocaine patch. Outcome measure: Change in the TFI. Results: The average pre-treatment TFI score was 56.2. After 1 month the average TFI decreased to 41 (p < 0.05). The scores dropped to 34 and 35 after 2 and 3 months of treatment respectively. Despite improvement in symptoms of tinnitus, most patients did not continue the study after the first month, dropping out due to the size, discomfort, and appearance of the lidocaine patch, failure to follow-up and lack of perceived benefit from treatment. Conclusions: In this preliminary study, 5% transdermal lidocaine appears to be a potential treatment for chronic subjective tinnitus. The majority of subjects who completed 1 month of treatment had clinically significantly improved tinnitus. These findings are confounded however by the small sample size and significant drop out rate.


  • Clinical trial
  • Lidocaine
  • Tinnitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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