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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Mindfulness-and body-psychotherapy-based group treatment of chronic tinnitus: a randomized controlled pilot study

Peter M Kreuzer*, Monika Goetz, Maria Holl, Martin Schecklmann, Michael Landgrebe, Susanne Staudinger and Berthold Langguth

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, Universitaetsstrasse 84, Regensburg 93053, Germany

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:235  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-235

Published: 28 November 2012

Abstract

Background

Tinnitus, the perception of sound in absence of an external acoustic source, impairs the quality of life in 2% of the population. Since in most cases causal treatment is not possible, the majority of therapeutic attempts aim at developing and strengthening individual coping and habituation strategies. Therapeutic interventions that incorporate training in mindfulness meditation have become increasingly popular in the treatment of stress-related disorders. Here we conducted a randomized, controlled clinical study to investigate the efficacy of a specific mindfulness- and body-psychotherapy based program in patients suffering from chronic tinnitus.

Methods

Thirty-six patients were enrolled in this pilot study. The treatment was specifically developed for tinnitus patients and is based on mindfulness and body psychotherapy. Treatment was performed as group therapy at two training weekends that were separated by an interval of 7 weeks (eleven hours/weekend) and in four further two-hour sessions (week 2, 9, 18 and 22). Patients were randomized to receive treatment either immediately or after waiting time, which served as a control condition. The primary study outcome was the change in tinnitus complaints as measured by the German Version of the Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ).

Results

ANOVA testing for the primary outcome showed a significant interaction effect time by group (F = 7.4; df = 1,33; p = 0.010). Post hoc t-tests indicated an amelioration of TQ scores from baseline to week 9 in both groups (intervention group: t = 6.2; df = 17; p < 0.001; control group: t = 2.5; df = 16; p = 0.023), but the intervention group improved more than the control group. Groups differed at week 7 and 9, but not at week 24 as far as the TQ score was concerned.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that this mindfulness- and body-psychotherapy-based approach is feasible in the treatment of tinnitus and merits further evaluation in clinical studies with larger sample sizes.

The study is registered with clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01540357).

Keywords:
Subjective tinnitus; Mindfulness-based therapy; Somatoform disorders; Self-management