Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Some mental health concerns, such as depression and anxiety, can be a result of your reaction to tinnitus. A cognitive-behavioural understanding of tinnitus views tinnitus as a stimulus to which a person responds with a number of thoughts, some of which are conscious but others are automatic. The source of distress is therefore not the tinnitus itself, but rather the way in which you view and think about the tinnitus.

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ?

The aim of cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) is to teach a range of self-control techniques so that you can change the way you view and react to the tinnitus. The aim is not to ‘cure’ the tinnitus but to help you to find effective ways to manage the problem and your reaction to it, thereby reducing its annoyance.Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can help to relieve your distress and annoyance and reduce your attention to the tinnitus sounds.

A CBT Program can help to do the following:

  • Learn about the processes of thinking and behaviour and about the effects of tinnitus.
  • Change the way you think about your tinnitus by helping you to identify negative automatic thoughts and to substitute neutral or more positive thoughts.
  • Learn ways to divert your attention from the tinnitus, including using imagery.
  • Learn progressive muscle relaxation.

Individual CBT for tinnitus management is available from some psychologists.
CBT May benefit you if:

  • Some common problems associated with tinnitus may suggest you would benefit from talking with a counsellor or a psychologist. Such problems might include:
  • The tinnitus is worse when you are stressed, worried, anxious
  • It can make you feel tense, depressed, irritable and/or angry
  • It can make it hard to fall, or stay, asleep
  • It can affect your relationship with your spouse, partner, family members or friends
  • It may lead you to withdraw from activities, or get less pleasure from them
  • It can lead to the excessive use of medical services or to rely on medications
Self-Help Options

If you are unable to attend a CBT Program, you may find that you can change your thoughts about the tinnitus and learn the control and relaxation techniques with the aid of a book such as;
“Tinnitus. A Self-Management Guide for the Ringing in Your Ears”  by Jane Henry and Peter Wilson, Psychologists.

On-line help for tinnitus is also available from UK website