Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Tinnitus
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of counseling that addresses mental and emotional responses to tinnitus. It’s designed to help you feel empowered to make positive changes in your thinking and behavior. Licensed counselors at NYU Langone use discussion-based techniques to help you become more aware of thought patterns and replace negative thoughts about tinnitus with positive thoughts and actions related to other aspects of your life.
NYU Langone experts often focus cognitive behavioral therapy in two parts: functional analysis and skills training. In functional analysis, you and a counselor identify the thoughts about tinnitus that lead to or worsen stressful situations. When these connections are analyzed, your counselor uses skills training to help you alter your emotional response.
Instead of thinking that tinnitus prevents you from participating in the activities you enjoy, therapy encourages you to focus on the decisions you can make to create a more comfortable environment. For example, suggesting a restaurant that is less noisy may help you enjoy the experience and minimize thoughts of tinnitus.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is offered in one-on-one sessions, as well as in group meetings. Your counselor may recommend that you practice the strategies you’ve learned at home.
The number of sessions you need varies, depending on how significantly tinnitus affects your life and how quickly the therapy leads to positive changes. Some people feel better within four to six weeks of starting weekly sessions.
Your physician or audiologist may recommend therapy in addition to a masking or retraining device to enhance the effectiveness of both treatment approaches.