17 September 2018

Mindfulness may help people with tinnitus

A mindfulness-based approach to tinnitus may reduce the impact of tinnitus, a study finds.

A British study has found that mindfulness may help people who suffer from tinnitus.  The study also found that a mindful approach to tinnitus helps more than relaxation therapy.

In the study, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was associated with significant improvements on all outcome measures.

But the researchers also found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can help tinnitus sufferers far more effectively than relaxation-based treatments.

Compared types of therapy

“We compared MBCT to relaxation therapy, a traditional treatment for people with chronic tinnitus, to determine if MBCT was a better option,” one of the authors, Dr Elisabeth M. Marks said.

“In total, 75 patients took part in the trial at UCLH’s Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear hospital receiving either MBCT or relaxation therapy. The study found that both treatments led to a reduction in tinnitus severity, psychological distress, anxiety and depression for patients.”

Another 182 adults with chronic and distressing tinnitus completed an 8-week MBCT group. Measures of tinnitus-related distress, psychological distress, tinnitus acceptance, and mindfulness were taken before and after the MBCT group and again at 6-week follow-up.

Relaxation therapy typically provides patients with specific skills to reduce stress levels. In contrast, MBCT teaches patients to pay purposeful, present-moment attention to experiences, rather than trying to suppress them.

About the study

The research was led by Dr Laurence McKenna from University College London Hospitals NHS foundation trust and Dr Liz Marks from the department of psychology at the University of Bath, both in the UK.

The study was published in the journals Ear and Hearing and Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

Sources: Ear & Hearing, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and www.theguardian.com

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