Tinnitus-related distress: A review of recent findings

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2011 Feb;13(1):31-6. doi: 10.1007/s11920-010-0163-1.


This article reviews recent articles relevant to tinnitus-related distress (TRD). Recent studies provide evidence that 1) chronic tinnitus, which occurs in a significant percentage of adults, has stress-inducing effects similar to those of other chronic health problems; 2) the effects of tinnitus on distress are worse in individuals who have certain personality characteristics, such as type D personality and anxiety sensitivity; 3) neural activity in TRD is similar to that for pain and depression; 4) tinnitus leads to less distress in individuals who accept their condition; and 5) cognitive-behavioral treatments, including relaxation training, attention-control training, and acceptance activities, tend to reduce TRD. The recent findings suggest that it would be good practice for mental health professionals to ask patients, especially older patients, about tinnitus and to offer psychological treatment for TRD in appropriate cases. Future research on TRD might explore the extent to which the problem is genetic and the possibility of preventing TRD in individuals who have recently developed persistent tinnitus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Humans
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Tinnitus / psychology*
  • Tinnitus / therapy