Name of treatment

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Type of treatment

Counselling/talking therapy

Claims for treatment

CBT makes use of a series of techniques such as relaxation, imagery modification, discussion of evidence for and against the beliefs to change the patient’s pattern of behavior and/or thinking.

How treatment is delivered

Individual or group sessions, usually once a week for a period of 8-24 weeks. Treatment may also be delivered online.

Potential negative consequences

Few adverse effects were reported in CBT clinical trials with tinnitus patients.[1] Cost (if accessed privately).

Evidence offered:

Papers available

>1000. 28 included in Cochrane review.[1]

Conclusions drawn

CBT may be effective in reducing the impact of tinnitus on quality of life of tinnitus patients.

Service providers should feel confident that CBT for tinnitus is beneficial at least in the short term.[1][2]

CBT for tinnitus appears to have some benefit for people who also experience depression.[1]

CBT for tinnitus delivered in person and delivered online appear similarly effective.[1]

NICE guidelines recommend that CBT therapies are offered to people with tinnitus if it is still having an impact on their emotional and social wellbeing or day-to-day activities despite having received tinnitus support.[3]

A European guideline also strongly supports the use of CBT for tinnitus.[4]

Quality of evidence[5]

A

Does the BTA recommend this treatment?

Yes

BTA opinion on this treatment:

CBT has been shown to be one of the most beneficial treatments available to increase quality of life in people with tinnitus.

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?

Yes if study innovative and high quality.

Verdict: Safety - is this treatment harmful?

   Regarded as safe 

Verdict: Efficacy - does this treatment work?

   Evidence that it is effective

Comments

More studies are necessary to investigate the long-term effects of CBT on tinnitus as there is a lack of six- and 12-month follow-up data in most studies.

For further information

The BTA Tinnitus Support Team can answer your questions on any tinnitus related topics:

Telephone: 0800 018 0527
Web chat: - click on the icon
Email: [email protected]
Text/SMS: 07537 416841

We also offer a free tinnitus e-learning programme, Take on Tinnitus.

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This information is in PDF format.

tinnitus and cognitive behavioural therapy 

Feedback

We welcome feedback on all our information. You can pass your comments to our Communications Team:

Telephone: 0114 250 9933
Email: [email protected]
or by writing to us at the address below.

References

[1] Fuller T, Cima R, Langguth B, Mazurek B, Vlaeyen JWS, Hoare DJ. Cognitive behavioural therapy for tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2020, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD012614. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012614.pub2. Accessed 11 May 2022.

[2] Landry EC, Sandoval XCR, Simeone CN, Tidball G, Lea J, Westerberg BD. Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis of Cognitive and/or Behavioral Therapies (CBT) for Tinnitus. Otology and Neurotology. 2020 Feb;41(2):153-166. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000002472. PMID: 31743297.

[3] National Guideline Centre (UK). Tinnitus: assessment and management: London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (UK); 2020 Mar. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng155

[4] Cima, R.F.F., Mazurek, B., Haider, H. et al. A multidisciplinary European guideline for tinnitus: diagnostics, assessment, and treatment. HNO 67, 10–42 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00106-019-0633-7

[5] A = Systematic review/meta analysis. B = Randomised control studies. C = Cohort studies. D = Case control studies. E = case studies/reports. +/- to be used to indicate quality within bands

Author: Nic Wray

Version 2.0

Updated: 11 May 2022

To be reviewed: May 2025

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash