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Treating tinnitus using internet based self-help therapy

Hearing Health, Tuesday September 13th 2016 by Emily Lunardo.

Tinnitus patients now have the option to cope with phantom noise using internet-based self-help therapy. A German-Swedish study had participants with moderate to severe tinnitus try out various forms of therapy over the course of 10 weeks.

One group was on internet-based self-help therapy, the other was going through group therapy, and the third one – the control – was only taking part in an online discussion forum.

The outcomes for both internet-based therapy and group therapy were found to be more successful than in the controls (participating in online discussion only) in managing symptoms of ringing in the ears, a signature symptom of tinnitus.

Although cognitive behavioural therapy has been found to improve symptoms and management of tinnitus, many patients do not have access to such treatments, nor do they have the desire to partake in psychological therapy. The study reveals that patients can now benefit – similarly to cognitive behavioural therapy participants – by partaking in the internet-based therapy, which encourages them to adopt an individual and active strategy to manage their tinnitus.

The results were measured using the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), showing a decrease in distress from 40 points to 29 points in the internet-based therapy group. Even those in the group therapy yielded positive results, decreasing distress from 44 points down to 29 points.

There was minimal improvement in the control group, however. For these patients, the average distress of 40 points only went down to 37.

Researcher Dr. Maria Kleinstäuber explained, “Our internet-based therapy concept was very effective when it came to the reduction of tinnitus-related distress or, to put it another way, at increasing the tolerance levels of subjects with regard to their tinnitus.” The researchers suggest that psychotherapy should be recommended to tinnitus patients more often as a means to help them better manage their condition.

Comment by Tinnitus Tunes

It is encouraging to see other research studies that support the primary reason why we established the Tinnitus Tunes website. That is to provide a range of techniques and tools people with tinnitus can use via the internet to help take control of and improve their tinnitus. This includes access to:

  • Masking & Relaxation Sound Therapy
  • Brain retraining sounds
  • Behavioural therapy counselling material.

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