Tinnitus and mindfulness based cognitive therapy

Name of treatment

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

Type of treatment

Psychological approach

Claims for treatment

Reduces severity and intrusiveness of tinnitus, making it less bothersome 

How treatment is delivered

Sessions led by therapist, patients taught to pay purposeful attention to experiences rather than suppress them.

Potential negative consequences

Generally regarded as safe, but possible for people to experience a deterioration in mental state[1]

Evidence offered:

Papers available


Conclusions drawn

Mindfulness-based approaches are effective in reducing tinnitus severity and psychological distress[2],[3]

Quality of evidence[4]


Does the BTA recommend this treatment?


BTA opinion on this treatment:

Initial studies are promising. Further larger-scale randomised controlled trials are necessary.

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?

Yes, if a high-quality study

Verdict: Safety – is this treatment harmful?


Generally regarded as safe

Verdict: Efficacy – does this treatment work?


Limited evidence that it is effective

[1] Hilton L, Hempel S, Ewing BA, Apaydin E, Xenakis L et al. Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2017; 51(2): 199–213.Pdoi: 10.1007/s12160-016-9844-2.

[2] McKenna L, Marks EM, Hallsworth CA, Schaette R. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy as a Treatment for Chronic Tinnitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 2017;86:351-361. doi: 10.1159/000478267

[3] Sadlier M, Stephens SDG, Kennedy V. Tinnitus rehabilitation: a mindfulness meditation cognitive behavioural therapy approach. The Journal of Laryngology and Otology. Volume 122, Issue 1 January 2008 , pp. 31-37

[4] A = Systematic review/meta analysis. B = Randomised control studies. C = Cohort studies. D = Case control studies. E = case studies/reports. +/- to be used to indicate quality within bands

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Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Updated 29 June 2019

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