A team of researchers has demonstrated the effectiveness of a new cognitive behavioral therapy for tinnitus. The findings were published in Britain’s leading medical journal The Lancet.

Conducted by Rilana Cima at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and colleagues from Cambridge University and other European universities, the research indicates that a form of cognitive behavioral therapy can help improve the daily functioning of tinnitus patients.

The researchers followed 492 adult tinnitus patients in the Netherlands for a period of 12 months. The effectiveness of an innovative tinnitus treatment protocol was compared to the standard treatment methods offered throughout the Netherlands.

The new multi-step treatment plan consists of cognitive behavioral therapy and elements from psychology and audiology. The therapy’s goal is to reduce the negative thoughts and feelings surrounding tinnitus and its symptoms through exposure techniques, movement and relaxation exercises, and mindfulness-based elements.

These steps are further supplemented with elements from tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), which examines the problems on a sound perception level. The treatment is offered by a multidisciplinary team of audiologists, psychologists, speech and movement therapists, physical therapists, and social workers.

The results reportedly offer compelling evidence to support the effectiveness of this innovative and specialized tinnitus therapy over more traditional forms of treatment. The overall health of the tinnitus patient improves and the severity of their symptoms and perceived impairment decrease after therapy.

Moreover, the new treatment is reported to be far more effective in reducing negative mood, dysfunctional beliefs, and tinnitus-related fear. The treatment is also said to be effective for both milder and more severe forms of the disorder. Consequently, the researchers are advocating a widespread implementation of this new treatment protocol.

SOURCE: Maastricht University