MAINZ, Germany, March 31 (UPI) -- Internet-based therapy was as effective as group therapy sessions for people with tinnitus, researchers in Germany and Sweden found.
Dr. Maria Kleinstauber of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and colleagues at the Linkoping University in Sweden divided patients with moderate to severe tinnitus into three categories: those receiving group therapy, those receiving Internet-based therapy and a control group that only participated in an online discussion forum.
The German Tinnitus League said 2 percent of the population have moderate to unbearable tinnitus, but the symptoms can be successfully managed by cognitive behavioral therapy. However, the study found not everyone has the opportunity or the desire to take a course of psychotherapy.
For the purposes of the study, the training program developed in Sweden was adapted so that it could be used for German patients and then be evaluated for its effectiveness.
The study showed that distress measured using the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory was reduced on average from moderate 40 points to mild 29 points in participants who completed the Internet-based training course.
The results for subjects in the cognitive behavioral therapy group were also very good, with distress levels being reduced from 44 to 29 points, but there was hardly any change in this respect in the control group subjects.
Tinnitus is a ringing or other annoying constant or intermittent noise in the ears -- a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder. It is also linked to stress and depression.