Exploring the Efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Tinnitus: A Neurobiological Perspective

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Wakelin, Caroline
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Tinnitus is a chronic condition with no known cure and is comorbid with anxiety, depression and insomnia for millions of people worldwide. There is also a lack of awareness regarding the etiology and prevalence of tinnitus which contributes to misconceptions, stigmatization and a lack of specialized treatment options. While Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy are the standard interventions for managing tinnitus, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has demonstrated potential as an alternative treatment modality. ACT for tinnitus helps patients shift their focus on values-based living by reducing experiential avoidance through acceptance and mindfulness practices. In this capstone, the neurobiology of tinnitus is explored, followed by a review of four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that investigate the effectiveness of ACT in reducing distress and enhancing the quality of life for individuals experiencing tinnitus. Low to moderate evidence showed that ACT played a positive immediate role on anxiety and depression and improved sleep for patients with chronic tinnitus; however, due to methodological limitations more RCTs are recommend to confirm the effectiveness of ACT. This capstone concludes with a proposal to develop an online course aimed at patients, counsellors, and healthcare clinicians, with the goal of expanding the scope and reach of tinnitus awareness beyond this project.
tinnitus , ACT , chronic illness , acceptance and commitment therapy , mindfulness , neuroplasticity , acceptance , neurophysiological model , chronic conditions , habituation , subjective tinnitus
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess