Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Web therapy may help tinnitus sufferers cope with problem


Internet-based therapy can help sufferers cope with tinnitus, the medical term for the ringing sound in the ears that is experienced by 10 to 14 percent of adults, suggest the results of a Swedish study.

No cure for tinnitus exists, although some experts recommend the use of hearing aids and white-noise generators to help minimize the ringing, and sometimes hissing, chirping or clicking sounds associated with tinnitus. Symptoms are mild for most tinnitus patients, but the one-third of patients with more serious symptoms are also prone to depression, anxiety and insomnia, and can have difficulty participating in everyday activities.

Previous studies have found face-to-face cognitive behavior therapy - which helps patients unlearn undesirable reactions through awareness, goal-setting and homework assignments - can help with tinnitus. "Psychological treatment for tinnitus is not aimed at eliminating the tinnitus; rather, reduced annoyance is the goal," says lead study author Gerhard Andersson, Ph.D., from the Departments of Audiology and Psychology at the University Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden. This is the first Internet-based study on tinnitus.

Andersson and colleagues recruited nearly 120 tinnitus patients, age 18-70, through newspaper articles as well as the Swedish Hard of Hearing Association’s Web site. Half of the participants received treatment immediately, while the other half who received delayed treatment served as the control group.

Participants received six weeks of cognitive behavioral exercises, which included relaxation, breathing and sleep management training via the Internet. They were required to submit homework assignments and weekly reports on a Web page and were encouraged to e-mail the researchers with their questions and concerns.

Study participants who received the Web therapy reduced their tinnitus-related symptoms - including distress, depression, annoyance and anxiety - to a greater extent than the control group, the researchers found. However the results were not dramatic: less than a third of those receiving Internet treatment reported achieving substantial improvement of their symptoms. But even without substantial improvement, "our impression from e-mails is that a majority of completers found the treatment to be beneficial," Andersson says. The study results appear in the September/October issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Andersson and colleagues note several caveats concerning Internet studies. A high percentage of participants dropped out at the beginning of the study, which suggests that people who are quick to send an e-mail response to a study advertisement may be just as quick to drop out when confronted with a demanding treatment regimen.

Also, they say, Internet study patients should be monitored closely via telephone contact, and the treatment manual should be structured to include e-mail interactions between patient and therapy at every treatment step, suggest the researchers, who add that future studies should also compare face-to-face with Internet treatment.

The researchers regard the Internet as a complement, rather than an alternative, to face-to-face treatment. But since it’s cost effective and convenient for those who are far from treatment centers and it can be modified and individualized, unlike self-help books, the Internet shows great promise as a tinnitus treatment tool, according to the study. The treatment is available as a regular service at the hospital.

"Most likely, the Internet will change the way health care is provided in the future, and hence there is an urgent need to evaluate the pros and cons of Internet-administrated treatment," Andersson concludes.

This research was supported through grants from the Swedish Council for Social Research and the Swedish Hard of Hearing Association.

Health Behavior News Service: (202) 387-2829 or
Interviews: Contact Gerhard Andersson at, or +46 18-4712116.
Psychosomatic Medicine: Contact Victoria White at (352) 376-1611, ext. 5300, or visit

Center for the Advancement of Health
Contact: Ira R. Allen
Director of Public Affairs

Gerhard Andersson | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>