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J Psychosom Res. 2002 Jan;52(1):29-33.

Impact of a relaxation training on psychometric and immunologic parameters in tinnitus sufferers.

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Clinic for Internal Medicine-Psychosomatics, Charité Campus Virchow Clinic, Medical School of the Humboldt University, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353, Berlin, Germany.



Tinnitus often entails severe psychological distress. Reversely, tinnitus may be considered as a chronic stressor. Based on this hypothesis, we investigated whether improving stress-managing capabilities would influence psychological and stress-related immunological parameters in chronic tinnitus sufferers.


Tinnitus (TPs, n=26) and non-tinnitus participants (NTPs, n=13) took part in a standardised 10-week relaxation program. An additional group of tinnitus sufferers (n=18), randomly assigned to a waiting list, served as control (TC) subjects. Mood, perceived stress, global quality of life, and tinnitus disturbance were assessed before and after the intervention. The stress-sensitive immunological parameters TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-10 were measured before, during, and at the end of the intervention.


The program resulted in a significantly decreased perception of stress, anxious depression, anger, and tinnitus disturbance, paralleled by a reduction of TNF-alpha. No alterations were noted for IL-6 or IL-10. For the NTPs and TCs, no relevant psychological or immune changes could be observed.


The data suggest that (1) the training offered improved stress-managing capabilities in chronic tinnitus sufferers, and (2) TNF-alpha may be conceived as a stress marker.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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