Through the British study, researchers found that the best results were achieved by combining the main treatment options currently available for the treatment of tinnitus. The two methods were cognitive behavioural therapy and tinnitus retraining therapy. The first aims to retrain the brain to exclude negative thoughts, while the second tries to divert the patient's attention away from their tinnitus. That can be done by using different devices such as wearable players or hearing aids, but also by using psychological therapy to teach the patient to ignore their tinnitus noise.
The researchers sought out 492 people with tinnitus. Of these, 245 were chosen at random to receive care from a wide range of specialists according to their individual needs. They received treatment from audiologists, psychologists, speech therapists, movement therapists, physical therapists and social workers.
The remaining 247 participants received the usual single-treatment care package.
The participants who received the combination of treatments reported improved quality of life and decreased tinnitus severity compared to those who received the standard treatment.
David Baguley is a consultant clinical scientist and head of audiology at Cambridge University Hospitals, United Kingdom, where the study was carried out. He says that the outcome of the study shows robust results:
“The high quality of the research design and implementation means that we now have strong evidence that taking care and attention to address not only the hearing needs of people with tinnitus, but also their dismay and distress, results in better outcome.”
The results were published in the Lancet and give new hope for the millions of people the world over who suffer from tinnitus.