Study provides compelling evidence for an effective new treatment for tinnitus

According to new research, a multidisciplinary approach to treating tinnitus that combines cognitive behaviour therapy with sound-based tinnitus retraining therapy is significantly more effective than currently available treatments at reducing symptoms of this common debilitating disorder and improving quality of life. The findings published in this week's Lancet show that the new specialised care programme is beneficial in both mild and severe tinnitus, suggesting it could be implemented widely.

"The results are highly relevant for clinical practice because best practice for tinnitus has not been defined, and current are fragmented and costly", explain Rilana Cima and Johan Vlaeyen from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who led the research.

Tinnitus, described as a sustained ringing in the ears, affects up to 21% of adults at some point in their lifetime. Many treatments are offered for tinnitus, but there is very little evidence about which ones work best and few studies have compared treatments against each other.

In this study, researchers recruited 492 adults with tinnitus; 245 were randomly assigned to stepped specialised care and 247 to usual care stratified by tinnitus severity and hearing ability in blocks of four. Validated questionnaires were used to measure health-related quality of life, tinnitus severity, and tinnitus impairment.

After 12 months, patients in the specialised care group reported improved quality of life (effect size 0.24) and decreased tinnitus severity (0.43) and impairment (0.45) compared with those receiving standard treatment.

The authors point out: "We showed the effectiveness of specialised care compared with usual care not only after the first 3 months of first-step treatment, but also after the more intensive second-step treatment approach ended and 4 months of no treatment".

They conclude: "Our findings could lead to consensus in policy about best practice in treatment of tinnitus, standard choices in referral trajectories, and the implementation of standardised tinnitus assessment and thereby more easily comparable outcomes".

In a linked Comment, Berthold Langguth from the University of Regensburg in Germany says: "The results of this trial are especially convincing and relevant for clinical practice… Although the stepped care approach involved only a short intervention for most patients, specialised care was significantly better than usual care for the whole sample".

He adds: "For future research, it should not be forgotten that most patients with want a cure, which should be the ultimate goal of research efforts".

More information: Paper online: www.thelancet.com/journals/lan… (12)60369-3/abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study: Insomnia takes toll on tinnitus patients

Apr 19, 2012

For the more than 36 million people plagued by tinnitus, insomnia can have a negative effect on the condition, worsening the functional and emotional toll of chronic ringing, buzzing, hissing or clicking in the head and ears, ...

Low heritability of tinnitus

Apr 20, 2010

The relative importance of genetic factors in tinnitus is low, according to new research from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. This is the first large population-based study to measure the heritability of tinnitus.

Study casts doubt on caffeine link to tinnitus

Jan 12, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research has found giving up caffeine does not relieve tinnitus and acute caffeine withdrawal might add to the problem. This is the first study of its kind to look at the effect of caffeine ...

Silence may lead to phantom noises misinterpreted as tinnitus

Jan 01, 2008

Phantom noises, that mimic ringing in the ears associated with tinnitus, can be experienced by people with normal hearing in quiet situations, according to new research published in the January 2008 edition of Otolaryngology ...

Internet-based therapy relieves persistent tinnitus

Mar 07, 2012

Those suffering from nagging tinnitus can benefit from internet-based therapy just as much as patients who take part in group therapy sessions. These are the findings of a German-Swedish study in which patients with moderate ...

Recommended for you

A multiscale approach to Ebola response

12 minutes ago

The Ebola outbreak in western Africa continues to spread uncontrolled, affecting thus far five countries. On September 16th, President Obama spoke at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters ...

Overwhelmed west Africa ramps up Ebola response

14 hours ago

West Africa intensified its response to the deadly Ebola epidemic on Sunday, with Sierra Leone uncovering scores of dead bodies during a 72-hour shutdown and Liberia announcing hundreds of new hospital beds.

Sierra Leone reaches final day of Ebola lockdown

18 hours ago

Frustrated residents complained of food shortages in some neighborhoods of Sierra Leone's capital on Sunday as the country reached the third and final day of a sweeping, unprecedented lockdown designed to ...

Sierra Leone faces criticism over Ebola shutdown

Sep 20, 2014

Sierra Leone began the second day of a 72-hour nationwide shutdown aimed at containing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus on Saturday amid criticism that the action was a poorly planned publicity stunt.

Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—The presence of other health care workers improves hand hygiene adherence, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

User comments