Psychophysiological treatment of chronic tinnitus: A review

Clin Psychol Psychother. 2022 Jul;29(4):1236-1253. doi: 10.1002/cpp.2708. Epub 2022 Jan 13.


Subjective chronic tinnitus consists of a more or less continuous perception of sound in the absence of a corresponding acoustic source, which can lead to various psychological problems like depression, anxiety, attentional deficits and sleep disturbances. The prevalence is 10%-15% of the general population. Various therapy and management options have been proposed, but outcomes vary, and no generally accepted cure exists. In this review, the coherence of the most frequently used aetiological models shall be evaluated, and the efficacy of several treatment options will be discussed. With respect to tinnitus treatments, we focus on controlled studies and meta-analyses. Although there are some therapies that outweigh placebo effects such as cognitive behavioural therapy, neurofeedback or neuromodulation techniques, they mainly target secondary symptoms and not the tinnitus tone itself. Furthermore, positive treatment effects only seem to last for a limited period of time. We conclude that long-lasting combination therapies such as neurofeedback of auditory cortex inhibitory EEG signatures, cognitive therapy and sound-tactile stimulation may provide more efficient outcomes if they target the intensity of the tinnitus tone itself and not only secondary psychological symptoms.

Keywords: CBT; neurofeedback; neuromodulation; review; tinnitus; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy* / methods
  • Humans
  • Research Design
  • Sound
  • Tinnitus* / diagnosis
  • Tinnitus* / psychology
  • Tinnitus* / therapy

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