Biofeedback-based behavioral treatment for chronic tinnitus: results of a randomized controlled trial

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Dec;76(6):1046-57. doi: 10.1037/a0013811.


Many tinnitus sufferers believe that their tinnitus has an organic basis and thus seek medical rather than psychological treatments. Tinnitus has been found to be associated with negative appraisal, dysfunctional attention shift, and heightened psychophysiological arousal, so cognitive-behavioral interventions and biofeedback are commonly suggested as treatments. This study developed and investigated the efficacy of a biofeedback-based cognitive-behavioral treatment for tinnitus. In total, 130 tinnitus patients were randomly assigned to an intervention or a wait-list control group. Treatment consisted of 12 sessions of a biofeedback-based behavioral intervention over a 3-month period. Patients in the wait-list group participated in the treatment after the intervention group had completed the treatment. Results showed clear improvements regarding tinnitus annoyance, diary ratings of loudness, and feelings of controllability. Furthermore, changes in coping cognitions as well as changes in depressive symptoms were found. Improvements were maintained over a 6-month follow-up period in which medium-to-large effect sizes were observed. The treatment developed and investigated in this study is well accepted and leads to clear and stable improvements. Through demonstration of psychophysiological interrelationships, the treatment enables patients to change their somatic illness perceptions to a more psychosomatic point of view.

Trial registration: NCT00397007.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biofeedback, Psychology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tinnitus / diagnosis
  • Tinnitus / psychology*
  • Tinnitus / therapy*
  • Young Adult

Associated data