Researchers from the Cochrane ENT Disorders Group at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences collected and analysed 28 relevant studies (mostly from Europe) with a total of 2733 participants with tinnitus lasting for at least three months. The duration of the CBT ranged from 3 to 22 weeks, mostly given in hospitals or online. CBT was compared with no intervention/waiting list, audiological care, tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) or another active control (e.g. information, relaxation). However, there is an absence of evidence at 6 or 12 months follow-up.
The team identified that CBT probably reduces the negative impact of tinnitus on quality of life at the end of treatment compared with audiological care (moderate-certainty evidence), and may reduce it compared with tinnitus retraining therapy, other active controls or no intervention/being on a waiting list (all low-certainty evidence), but it is unknown whether this lasts. CBT may also slightly reduce depression at the end of treatment (low-certainty evidence).
The Cochrane authors also found some low- to moderate-certainty evidence that adverse effects may be rare in adults with tinnitus receiving CBT, but this needs further investigation.