(HealthDay News) – A multidisciplinary approach to treating tinnitus that combines cognitive behavior therapy with sound-based tinnitus retraining therapy is significantly more effective than currently available treatments for reducing symptoms in otherwise healthy subjects.

Rilana F.F. Cima, from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial that included healthy adults (over the age of 18 years) with a primary complaint of tinnitus. Four hundred ninety-two participants were stratified by tinnitus severity and hearing ability, in block sizes of four, and randomized (1:1 ratio) to receive either specialized care (cognitive behavior therapy with sound-focused tinnitus retraining therapy) or usual care. The tinnitus questionnaire score and the tinnitus handicap inventory score were assessed before treatment and at three, eight, and 12 months after randomization.

The researchers found that, compared to those assigned to usual care, patients assigned to specialized care showed significant improvement in health-related quality of life during a period of 12 months, and had significantly decreased tinnitus severity and tinnitus impairment. There were no adverse effects reported, and treatment was effective regardless of initial tinnitus severity.

“Specialized treatment of tinnitus based on cognitive behavior therapy could be suitable for widespread implementation for patients with tinnitus of varying severity,” the authors write.

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