An eight-week online mindfulness-based intervention for tinnitus: Accessibility, adherence, and rates of clinically meaningful success

James Jackson, Chloe Woolmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an external source and is experienced by up to 15% of the general population. There are many causes of tinnitus, but no cure is currently available. It has significant comorbidities with clinical anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and degrades quality of life in 1-2% of individuals. Currently, psychological interventions are the best way forward in assisting tinnitus habituation, but treatment availability and suitable experience to deliver such interventions are limited.

Method 105 individuals with chronic tinnitus took part in this study. A curated eight-week mindfulness-based intervention consisting of weekly online body scan meditations was compared with a waiting list control group. Intervention outcomes were assessed by changes to tinnitus distress (Tinnitus Functional Index), tinnitus cognitions (Tinnitus Cognitions Questionnaire) and mindful awareness (Mindfulness Attentional Awareness Scale).

Results As hypothesised, the online intervention saw clinically meaningful reductions in tinnitus distress (p<0.01) for 30% of participants (n=16). Furthermore, the intervention saw significant increases in trait mindfulness (p=0.042) and a significant reduction in negative tinnitus cognitions (p<0.01), when compared with waiting list controls. No changes to positive cognitions were observed (p=0.64ns.). 21 participants failed to complete the study and were considered ‘no change’ as per Intention-To-Treat (ITT) paradigms.

Conclusions In the absence of accessible psychological intervention, online body scans are recommended for individuals with tinnitus as an effective and low-cost self-help tool. Reductions in negative thoughts around tinnitus are considered key to tinnitus habitation. Challenges with regards to adherence rates are discussed, and future directions considered, including recommendations for investigation in conjunction with other interventions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMindfulness
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Body Scans
  • Mindfulness
  • Tinnitus
  • Tinnitus Cognitions
  • Tinnitus Distress

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