Relieving tinnitus with mindfulness therapy


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The University of Bath, UK recently reported on a study using a mindfulness-based approach to relieve tinnitus. The research was conducted by the university’s Department of Psychology in conjunction with University College London Hospitals.

Therapies based on relaxation are generally used to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus. However, the new research has found that a mindfulness-based approach could provide better results. The results have been published in the journals Ear and Hearing and Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

Dr Liz Marks from the Department of Psychology explained that the research team compared mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) to relaxation therapy in 75 patients with tinnitus to determine if MBCT was a better option than the current recommended practice. The research found that MBCT helps to significantly reduce the severity of tinnitus compared to relaxation-based treatments. Patients were taught to respond differently to tinnitus. They were shown how to allow and accept tinnitus, rather than having to fight it constantly.

Although both treatment approaches led to a reduction in tinnitus severity, psychological distress, anxiety and depression, MBCT treatment provided significantly greater reductions in tinnitus severity than relaxation treatment. Importantly, this improvement also lasted for longer. The research findings are further supported by results for 182 patients who completed MBCT routinely at the study center and who were found to have similar levels of improvement.

“MBCT turns traditional tinnitus treatment on its head – so rather than trying to avoid or mask the noise, it teaches people to stop the battle with tinnitus,” Dr Marks added.

Source: University of Bath