EMDR (Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing)

Here we look at the claims for EMDR.

Version: 2.1 Last updated: April 2023 To be reviewed: November 2025

Treatment details


Talking Therapy



Regarded as safe



No or limited evidence that it is effective


Speak to your GP

Claims for treatment

Reduces or removes the perception of tinnitus and lowers distress.

What is the treatment?

EMDR “is a psychotherapy that involves various elements and attention to the past, present and future. Part of the treatment includes bilateral stimulation, such as rapid movements of the eyes from side to side.”[1]

What are the downsides of this treatment?

No serious adverse effects were reported in clinical trials with tinnitus patients[2] [3].

Cost – most people pay for therapy privately.

Has there been research into this treatment?

Some small scale studies have been conducted into EMDR for tinnitus.

What does the research say?

Studies completed to date suggest that EMDR is effective in reducing tinnitus distress[1] [2] [4]. However, these trials are small, and no randomisation was applied.

Initial studies are promising. Further randomised controlled trials are necessary.

Tinnitus UK


More randomised, placebo-controlled, doubleblind studies with large sample sizes are needed to confirm the effectiveness of EMDR for tinnitus patients. Uniform, validated, tinnitus-specific questionnaires and measurement scales should be used in future studies.

All online references accessed 1 November 2022 unless noted.

1. Phillips J, Erskine S, Moore T, Nunney I, and Wright C. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing as a Treatment for Tinnitus, The Laryngoscope, (2019).

2. Rikkert M, van Rood Y, de Roos C, Ratter J, van den Hout M. A trauma-focused approach for patients with tinnitus: the effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing – a multicentre pilot trial.
European Journal of Psychotraumatology.
(2018) 9(1):1512248. doi:10.1080/20008

3. Luyten TR, Jacquemin L, Van Looveren N, Declau F, Fransen E, Cardon E, De Bodt M, Topsakal V, Van de Heyning P, Van Rompaey V, Gilles A. Bimodal Therapy for Chronic Subjective Tinnitus:
A Randomized Controlled Trial of EMDR and TRT Versus CBT and TRT. Frontiers in Psychology. (2020) Sep 10;11:2048. doi:

4. D’Andréa G, Giacchero R, Roger C, Vandersteen C, Guevara N. Evaluation of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing in the management of tinnitus. An observational study. European Annals of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Diseases. (2022) Mar;139(2):65-71.
doi: 10.1016/j.anorl.2021.06.002.