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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Tinnitus

Tinnitus is my specialism, and I offer a 2-hour Active Habituation treatment which is open to existing hearing patients and also as a standalone treatment for new patients.

Most of my Active Habituation clients find that this treatment is all they need to get on the road to recovery, however there is a percentage that need to be referred onwards for additional therapy. I can refer you to the GP for depression, anxiety, NHS audiology or Ear Nose and Throat services.

I can also refer privately to providers of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Mindfulness, which are two therapies proven to reduce tinnitus distress scores.

I am delighted to say we have a great clinical psychologist working from Brighouse Mind and Body, so you do not need to go far to get support.

Rachel Newton is a qualified and experienced psychologist offering CBT. CBT helps a person to understand errors in their thought processes, which impact how they feel about themselves and alter their mood. The therapist helps you to identify thought errors and challenge them, replacing unhelpful and upsetting thoughts with a more realistic thought. Over several sessions, you work on your thought processes until it becomes second nature to have balanced thinking.

One example might be:

The tinnitus is really terrible today. It is going to get louder and louder, and ruin my whole day.

This is the sort of thought that has lasting effects on your mood and your behaviour. It is also untrue, but having these thoughts unchecked can lead to feeling miserable and out of control. Once you have had your Active Habitation consultation, you'll know this thought isn't a true reflection of tinnitus, but if you fall victim to these thoughts you will keep giving energy to the tinnitus.

Patients who are set in a pattern of having these thought errors can continue to suffer. CBT helps you challenge the thought and replace it with an alternative, such as:

My tinnitus is more prominent right now, but I know it will fade back again when I leave this noisy restaurant. I've simply met one of my trigger situations, and if I don't spend any more time thinking about it, it will go away even faster.

When we fall into the trap of thinking about tinnitus, the type of thoughts we have impact on the duration and "volume" of it. The thoughts leave us miserable.

Thought errors can sometimes have an element of truth to them, but they don't stand up to inspection! CBT helps you examine how correct the thought is and how much you believe it. Then the new thought can replace it, and you examine it once again to ensure you believe it.

A good CBT practitioner will help get you out of this cycle, and it's very helpful to have one that understands the nature of tinnitus. That's why I'm pleased to have Rachel close by if my patients need extra support.

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