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Pilot study to develop telehealth tinnitus management for persons with and without traumatic brain injury.

Henry JA, Zaugg TL, Myers PJ, Schmidt CJ, Griest S, Legro MW, Kaelin C, Thielman EJ, Storzbach DM, McMillan GP, Carlson KF. Pilot study to develop telehealth tinnitus management for persons with and without traumatic brain injury. Journal of rehabilitation research and development. 2013 Aug 12; 49(7):1025-42.

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Tinnitus, or "ringing in the ears," affects 10%-15% of adults; cases can be problematic and require lifelong management. Many people who have experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI) also experience tinnitus. We developed Progressive Tinnitus Management (PTM), which uses education and counseling to help patients learn how to self-manage their reactions to tinnitus. We adapted PTM by delivering the intervention via telephone and by adding cognitive-behavioral therapy. A pilot study was conducted to evaluate the feasibility and potential efficacy of this approach for individuals with and without TBI. Participants with clinically significant tinnitus were recruited into three groups: probable symptomatic mild TBI (n = 15), moderate to severe TBI (n = 9), and no symptomatic TBI (n = 12). Participants received telephone counseling (six sessions over 6 months) by an audiologist and a psychologist. Questionnaires were completed at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks. All groups showed trends reflecting improvement in self-perceived functional limitations due to tinnitus. A follow-up randomized clinical study is underway.

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