What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a structured talking therapy where the therapist and patient work together towards common goals. It is delivered by trained practitioners over a short period of time and has proven effectiveness as a treatment for tinnitus among other physical and mental health difficulties. CBT enables people to understand how their thoughts and behaviors affect how they feel emotionally and physically, and how these processes interact together and with general life circumstances. This can lead to a ‘vicious cycle’ that maintains tinnitus-related distress. 

What does CBT do?

In CBT, the patient learns about what makes tinnitus worse, such as thinking negatively and worrying about tinnitus and restricting their daily activities because of tinnitus. The patient can then learn helpful strategies for managing tinnitus effectively and reducing its impact upon their life. This includes learning to change how one thinks about tinnitus, learning to refocusing attention elsewhere, learning new skills such as relaxation or mindfulness, and gaining confidence to return to activities and behaviors that are important and enjoyable to them.  

Why does CBT work?

Tinnitus often begins during or after difficult life events, and can be made worse by stress and anxiety. Since CBT is an effective treatment for stress and anxiety, this treatment approach has the additional benefit of helping people to cope with these issues, too. There is evidence that CBT for tinnitus leads to significant reductions in the associated distress and intrusiveness as well as improvements in people’s emotional and physical well-being.