Tinnitus and hypnotherapy | British Tinnitus Association

Name of treatment

Hypnotherapy (hypnosis)

Type of treatment

Alternative therapy using hypnosis, positive suggestions and guided imagery

Claims for treatment

Deals with the psychological aspects of tinnitus, such as anger, stress, anxiety.[1]

How treatment is delivered

The therapist will guide the patient into a deeply relaxed state either in person or via recording

Potential negative consequences


Can be offered by people with little training

Hazardous for people with psychosis or certain types of personality disorder[2]

Evidence offered:


Papers available

Very few recent papers mention hypnotherapy as a tinnitus treatment at all. Previous papers have been small scale trials of poor quality.[3]

Conclusions drawn

There is no evidence available to show whether hypnotherapy is effective in people with tinnitus.[3]

A systematic review of hypnotherapy in patients with stress concluded that the effectiveness of this intervention is still unclear.[4]

There is some evidence that hypnotherapy reduces anxiety, but it is more effective when combined with other psychological interventions.[5]

A systematic review of hypnotherapy for insomnia concluded that the effectiveness of this intervention is still unclear.[6]

There is very little evidence on whether hypnotherapy causes adverse effects, but one systematic review showed no evidence that it does.[7]

Quality of evidence[8]


Does the BTA recommend this treatment?

Current tinnitus management guidelines suggest the use of relaxation strategies to help manage tinnitus. Hypnotherapy may be considered as a way to improve relaxation.

BTA opinion on this treatment:

There is no evidence to support the use of hypnotherapy over other relaxation strategies, but some people may find it useful.

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?


Verdict: Safety – is this treatment harmful?


Limited potential for harm

Verdict: Efficacy – does this treatment work?


No evidence that it is effective

Date completed

February 2020

Date for revision

February 2023


We welcome feedback on all our information. Please send any corrections or updates for consideration to Nic Wray, Communications Manager on [email protected]

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tinnitus and hypnotherapy

[1] Hypnotherapy Directory. Tinnitus [online]. Available from https://www.hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk/articles/tinnitus.html [accessed 12 February 2020]

[2] NHS (2018) Hypnotherapy (online) Available from www.nhs.uk/conditions/hypnotherapy [accessed 12 February 2020]

[3] Savage J, Waddell A. [2014] Tinnitus. BMJ Clinical Evidence. 2014:506. Available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4202663/#BMJ_0506_I12 [accessed 12 February 2020]

[4] Fisch S, Brinkhaus B, Teut M. (2019). Hypnosis in Patients with Perceived Stress – A Systematic Review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 17 (1), 323. DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-1806-0

[5] Valentine KE, Milling LS, Clark LJ, Moriarty CL. (2019). The Efficacy of Hypnosis as a Treatment for Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 67(3). DOI: 10.1080/00207144.2019.1613863

[6] Lam T-H, Chung K-F, Yeung W-F, Yu BY-M, Yung K-P, Ng TH-Y (2015). Hypnotherapy for Insomnia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 23 (5), 719-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.07.011

[7] Häuser W, Hagl M, Schmierer A, Hansen E (2016). The Efficacy, Safety and Applications of Medical Hypnosis. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International. 113 (170 289-96.  DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2016.0289

[8] 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

Updated 12 February 2020

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