Investigating tinnitus

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Name of project: Investigating the assessment, treatment and mechanisms of tinnitus
Project coordinator(s): Rilana Cima and Thomas Fuller
Project group: Thomas Fulleraa,b, Rilana Cimaa,b,c Johan Vlaeyena,c
a Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
b Adelante, Centre for expertise in Rehabilitation & Audiology, The Netherlands
c Research Group in Health Psychology, Katholiek Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Period: October 2014-18
Collaboration and participating institutes: Maastricht University, Adelante, Libra Audiology, Cochrane Collaboration
Research questions:
Our main research questions are as follows:

  1. How effective is the CBT-based treatment for tinnitus distress first developed and tested by Cima et al. (2012) when implemented under “real-world” conditions? (Study 1)
  2. How effective is CBT for tinnitus distress (Study 2)
  3. What are the clinical relevance, significance and psychometric properties of outcome measures used in the assessment and treatment of tinnitus (including, for example, the Fear of Tinnitus Questionnaire, the Tinnitus Catastrophisation Scale and Tinnitus Questionnaire)? (Study 3)
  4. How effective are education and exposure respectively as treatment components for tinnitus distress? (Study 4)


  • To address research question 1, we are conducting pre-post uncontrolled prospective study involving adult patients with tinnitus as their main complaint with Libra Audiology.
  • To assess the effectiveness of CBT as an intervention for tinnitus distress (research question 2) we are conducting a systematic review in collaboration with international colleagues and support from the Cochrane Collaboration.
  • To address research question three, we will conduct a psychometric analysis of the Fear of Tinnitus Questionnaire and the Tinnitus Catastrophizing Scale using a large cross-sectional dataset. The dataset is comprised of responses collected from an online survey about tinnitus from people in the Netherlands.
  • We will conduct an experimental single case series design study to examine the timing and extent of any treatment effects in people receiving educational and exposure interventions for tinnitus distress.

The overall aim of this project is to evaluate and improve CBT based treatment for people with chronic tinnitus.
Financial sponsor
This research was supported by funding from SWOL Limburgs Fonds voor Revalidatie and Adelante, Centre for expertise in Rehabilitation and Audiology.
Type of research
Multi-modal quantitative research.