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A new Cochrane Review says Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) may be effective in reducing the negative impact that tinnitus can have on quality of life.

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. 

Read the full Cochrane Review