Clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of chronic tinnitus in Japan

Auris Nasus Larynx. 2020 Feb;47(1):1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.anl.2019.09.007. Epub 2019 Oct 9.


Clinical practice guidelines in Japan for tinnitus were published in May 2019. Effective treatment of tinnitus contributes to quality of life and may improve depression, anxiety, and cognitive function. The highest priority of treatment recommended by this guideline involves educational counseling, including an explanation of the mechanisms of tinnitus. Understanding tinnitus pathology has also been reported to be a therapeutically effective educational counseling strategy. Further, explaining how sound therapy such as tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) works is effective. Psychological and cognitive behavioral therapies may be an option. Here, the hearing aid is coupled with a sound generator in order to administer sound therapy for patients with more-severe symptoms. In Japan, it can be difficult to perform psychotherapy alongside otorhinolaryngology, and exemplary sound therapy is more likely to be carried out. In any case, the purpose of treatment is not to eliminate tinnitus, but rather reduce distress that manifests in response to tinnitus by promoting sensory adaptation. Clinically, the most important subject is not the loudness of tinnitus, but the severity of tinnitus distress. TRT consists of educational counseling and sound therapy. The tinnitus handicap inventory (THI) is used to measure the distress level for tinnitus and to determine treatment priorities. Rehabilitation of tinnitus is important because anxiety and depression are often observed in patients with severe tinnitus. Additionally, drug administration should be avoided. As a surgical treatment, a cochlear implant can affect tinnitus symptoms. It is essential to establish a treatment policy according to the disease condition and degree of distress.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Evidence; Guidelines; Tinnitus; Treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Depression / psychology
  • Hearing Aids
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Tinnitus / diagnosis
  • Tinnitus / psychology
  • Tinnitus / rehabilitation*