This paper reports on 130 patients with tinnitus of at least three months duration who underwent ‘Modified Tinnitus Retraining Therapy’ (MTRT). MTRT combines psychological and physical therapies with standard tinnitus retraining therapy provided as a course of multi-disciplinary treatment, as individuals and in groups, over seven days. Patients then received ongoing follow-up every three months. Patients with clinical depression and suicide risk were excluded from the study and treated separately. Study patients underwent a series of audiological and psychometric tests (tinnitus, stress and depression questionnaires as well as a global well-being scale) pre-treatment, at the end of the seven-day course, and at three years. At the initial assessment following treatment, tinnitus annoyance, overall stress perception and depressive symptoms showed significant reductions, and quality of life improved. These effects remained at three years. As might be expected, the largest improvements occurred in patients with the worst pre-treatment scores, with gender and age having a variable effect for each of the outcome measures. Interestingly, the hearing level and duration of the tinnitus had little effect on the outcome of the treatment. Whilst it is impossible to be sure that the improvements seen relate directly to MTRT, (such intensive treatment is unlikely to be routinely available in the UK National Health Service), this study highlights the need for tinnitus treatment to systematically address background psychological and physical problems.

Long-term results of modified tinnitus retraining therapy.
Seydel C, Haupt H, Szczepek AJ, Hartmann A, Rose M, Mazurek B.
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Stuart Burrows

FRCS (ORL-HNS), Wellington Regional Hospital, Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand.

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