Authors examined the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy could offer an real new therapy for tinnitus. This single-site randomized controlled trial compared mindfulness-based cognitive treatment to intensive relaxation training (RT) for chronic, distressing tinnitus in adults. Tinnitus is experienced by up to 15% of the population and can lead to significant disability and distress. There is rarely a medical or surgical target and psychological therapies are recommended. This has published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

Assessments were completed at baseline and at treatment commencement 8 weeks later. The primary outcomes were tinnitus severity (Tinnitus Questionnaire) and psychological distress (Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation – Non-Risk, CORE-NR), 16 weeks after baseline. Both treatments involved 8 weekly, 120-min sessions focused on either relaxation (RT) or min mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. A total of 75 patients were randomly allocated to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (n = 39) or RT (n = 36).

Both groups showed significant reductions in tinnitus severity and loudness, psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and disability. mindfulness-based cognitive therapy led to a significantly greater reduction in tinnitus severity than RT. Effects persisted 6 months later, with a mean difference of 7.2 (95% CI 2.1-2.3, p = 0.006) and a standardized effect size of 0.56 (95% CI 0.16-0.96). Treatment was effective regardless of initial tinnitus severity, duration, or hearing loss.

These findings show that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is effective in reducing tinnitus severity in chronic tinnitus patients compared to intensive RT. It also reduces psychological distress and disability. Future studies should discover the generalizability of this method and the outcomes should relate to different aspects of the intervention.