While there is evidence that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) could reduce tinnitus distress, accessibility to clinical care can be limited. It has however been suggested that internet-based CBT has the potential to increase access to care, and as part of a new trial, researchers sought to establish if such an intervention is at least as effective as established individualised face-to-face clinical care in reducing tinnitus distress and tinnitus-related difficulties.
For the multicentre, noninferiority clinical trial, 92 adults were randomised to receive either eight weeks of guided internet-based CBT or a mean of two to three individualised face-to-face appointments in a tinnitus clinic.
The authors found the interventions were equally effective for reducing tinnitus distress. A clinically significant improvement was achieved by 57 per cent after the intervention (T1) and 54 per cent at two-month follow-up (T2) for the internet-based CBT group compared with 41 per cent at T1 and 46 per cent at T2 for the face-to-face group.
Presenting the findings in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, the authors said further work is needed to differentiate which patients are best suited for each intervention and whether including low-intensity interventions would be cost-effective and clinically effective.