Cognitive-Behavioral Treatments for Tinnitus: A Review of the Literature
06 August 2020 (online)
Background: Tinnitus can be defined as the perception of an auditory sensation, perceivable without the presence of an external sound.
Purpose: The aim of this article is to systematically review the peer-reviewed literature on treatment approaches for tinnitus based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and to provide a historical overview of developments within these approaches.
Research Design: Experimental studies, (randomized) trials, follow-up assessments, and reviews assessing educational, counseling, psychological, and CBT treatment approaches were identified as a result of an electronic database metasearch.
Results: A total of 31 (of the initial 75 studies) were included in the review. Results confirm that CBT treatment for tinnitus management is the most evidence-based treatment option so far. Though studied protocols are diverse and are usually a combination of different treatment elements, and tinnitus diagnostics and outcome assessments vary over investigations, a common ground of therapeutic elements was established, and evidence was found to be robust enough to guide clinical practice.
Conclusions: Treatment strategy might best be CBT-based, moving toward a more multidisciplinary approach. There is room for the involvement of different disciplines, using a stepped-care approach. This may provide brief and effective treatment for a larger group of tinnitus patients, and additional treatment steps can be provided for those suffering on a more severe level.