Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Here we look at the claims for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Regarded as safe
Evidence that it is effective
Claims for treatment
Changes a person’s pattern of behaviour and/or thinking about their tinnitus, which reduces distress and intrusiveness.
What is the treatment?
CBT makes use of a series of techniques such as relaxation, imagery modification and discussion of evidence for and against the beliefs a person holds about their tinnitus.
CBT is delivered in individual or group sessions, usually once a week for a period of 8-24 weeks. Treatment may also be delivered online.
What are the downsides of this treatment?
Few adverse effects were reported in CBT clinical trials with people with tinnitus.
Cost (if accessed privately).
Has there been research into this treatment?
There has been a substantial number of papers published on CBT and CBT for tinnitus.
What does the research say?
CBT may be effective in reducing the impact of tinnitus on quality of life people with the condition. Researchers are confident that CBT for tinnitus is beneficial at least in the short term,.
CBT for tinnitus appears to have some benefit for people who also experience depression.
CBT for tinnitus delivered in person and delivered online appear similarly effective.
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.
A European guideline also strongly supports the use of CBT for tinnitus.
CBT has been shown to be one of the most beneficial treatments available to increase quality of life in people with tinnitus.
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.
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All online references accessed 31 October 2022 unless noted.
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:
2. Landry EC, Sandoval XCR, Simeone CN, Tidball G, Lea J, Westerberg BD. Systematic Review and Network Metaanalysis
of Cognitive and/or Behavioral Therapies (CBT) for Tinnitus. Otology and Neurotology. (2020). Feb;41(2):153-166.
3. National Guideline Centre (UK). Tinnitus: assessment and management. (2020). Mar. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng155
4. Cima RFF, Mazurek B, Haider H. et al. A multidisciplinary European guideline for tinnitus: diagnostics, assessment, and treatment. HNO 67 (2019). 10–42 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00106-019-0633-7