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J Psychosom Res. 2003 Apr;54(4):381-9.

The management of chronic tinnitus: comparison of an outpatient cognitive-behavioral group training to minimal-contact interventions.

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Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Göttingen, Gosslerstr. 14, Federal Republic of Germany.



Using a randomized group design, the efficacy of an outpatient cognitive-behavioral Tinnitus Coping Training (TCT) was compared to two minimal-contact (MC) interventions.


TCT was conducted in a group format with 11 sessions (total n=43). One MC [MC-E (education), n=16] consisted of two group sessions in which education on tinnitus was presented and self-help strategies were introduced. The second MC [MC-R (relaxation), n=16] comprised four sessions. Besides education, music-supported relaxation was suggested as self-help strategy and audiotapes with relaxing music were provided. Furthermore, a waiting-list control group was installed (WC, n=20). Data were assessed at baseline (pretherapy) and at posttherapy period. Only TCT was additionally evaluated at a 6-month and a 12-month follow-up. Several outcome variables (e.g., awareness of tinnitus) were recorded in a tinnitus diary. Tinnitus coping and disability due to tinnitus were assessed by questionnaires. Subjective ratings of improvement were also requested from the patients. Furthermore, inventories of psychopathology were given to the patients.


Findings reveal highly significant improvements in TCT in comparison to the control group (WC). MC interventions do not differ significantly from each other, but are superior to WC in a few domains of outcome. Outcome in TCT is somewhat superior to combined MC interventions in two domains of data, but not regarding disability reduction. Effect sizes, nevertheless, indicate distinct differences in degree of improvement, with TCT achieving the best results.


A sequential scheme for the treatment of chronic tinnitus is discussed on the basis of cost-effectiveness considerations.

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