The end of tinnitus?

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Researchers are developing combination therapy for tinnitus

More than a fifth of the adult population suffers from disturbing ear noises, so-called tinnitus, report the Dutch researchers led by Dr. Rilana Cima from the University of Maastricht in the British specialist journal "The Lancet". In order to free those affected from their suffering, the scientists have developed a combination therapy consisting of cognitive behavioral therapy and hearing therapy.

From September 2007 to January 2011, the Dutch researchers tested their novel treatment approach on 245 tinnitus patients. 247 other patients underwent conventional treatment and served as a control group. Although the ear noises could not be cured even with the combination therapy, the trials achieved a significant relief from the symptoms, the researchers write in the article "Specialized treatment based on cognitive behavioral therapy compared to the usual treatment of tinnitus"

33 percent relief of tinnitus symptoms
The constant buzzing of the ears is a considerable psychological burden for tinnitus patients, which can also lead to other physical problems. A really efficient treatment has not been possible with conventional treatment methods in conventional medicine. However, the focus of treatment was mostly on physiological aspects, while the Dutch researchers integrated psychological starting points with their combination therapy. The combination method of psychological treatment and hearing therapy, which has now been tested on 245 adult tinnitus patients, was a remarkable success. After one year, those affected experienced an average improvement in their symptoms of 33 percent, while the patients in the control group only achieved an improvement of 13 percent despite therapy, the researchers report. "The treatment seemed to work regardless of the initial severity of the tinnitus," "and we saw no adverse events in this study," said Dr. Cima. And colleagues continue.

Trouble-free living with ear noises The researchers at the University of Maastricht did not use their combination therapy to directly combat the constant ringing in the ears or the squeaking, humming, hissing or whistling, but they gave the patients ways of dealing with them. "Although people still hear the sound after the treatment, they call themselves cured," explained the study leader Dr. Rilana Cima. The researcher used the metaphor of a comfortable shoe that adapts over time to the point that it is simply no longer felt. In a commentary on the current tinnitus study in the specialist journal "The Lancet", the German tinnitus expert Berthold Langguth from the University of Regensburg praised the new approach of the Dutch researchers under the heading "Tinnitus: The End of Therapeutic Nihilism". The scientists at the University of Maastricht have shown that there are definitely ways to treat tinnitus, Langguth said. For tinnitus patients, there is justified hope of a symptom-free life despite the annoying ear noises. (fp)

Read also about tinnitus:
Music therapy for tinnitus relieves symptoms
New tinnitus therapy developed

Author and source information

Video: Tinnitus and age-related hearing loss: Mayo Clinic Radio

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