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J Laryngol Otol. 2014 Dec;128(12):1028-33. doi: 10.1017/S0022215114002849. Epub 2014 Nov 24.

Clinical efficacy of tinnitus retraining therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy in the treatment of subjective tinnitus: a systematic review.

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Department of Otolaryngology,School of Medicine, College of Medicine,Dentistry and Nursing,Ninewells Hospital and Medical School,Dundee,Scotland,UK.



This study aimed to compare the outcomes of two frequently employed interventions for the management of tinnitus: tinnitus retraining therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.


A systematic review of literature published up to and including February 2013 was performed. Only randomised control trials and studies involving only human participants were included.


Nine high-quality studies evaluating the efficacy of tinnitus retraining therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy were identified. Of these, eight assessed cognitive behavioural therapy relative to a no-treatment control and one compared tinnitus retraining therapy to tinnitus masking therapy. Each study used a variety of standardised and validated questionnaires. Outcome measures were heterogeneous, but both therapies resulted in significant improvements in quality of life scores. Depression scores improved with cognitive behavioural therapy.


Both cognitive behavioural therapy and tinnitus retraining therapy are effective for tinnitus, with neither therapy being demonstrably superior. Further research using standardised, validated questionnaires is needed so that objective comparisons can be made.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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