Background: Tinnitus is a common chronic health condition that affects 10% to 20% of the general population. Among severe sufferers it causes disability in various areas. As a result of the tinnitus quality of life is often impaired. At present there is no cure or uniformly effective treatment, leading to fragmentized and costly tinnitus care. Evidence suggests an integral multidisciplinary approach in treating tinnitus is effective. The main objective of this study is to examine the effectiveness, costs, and cost-effectiveness of an integral treatment provided by a specialized tinnitus center versus usual care. This paper describes the study protocol.
Methods/Design: In a randomized controlled clinical trial 198 tinnitus patients will be randomly assigned to a specialized tinnitus care group or a usual care group. Adult tinnitus sufferers referred to the audiological centre are eligible. Included patients will be followed for 12 months.
Primary outcome measure is generic quality of life (measured with the Health Utilities Index Mark III). Secondary outcomes are severity of tinnitus, general distress, tinnitus cognitions, tinnitus specific fear, and costs. Based on health state utility outcome data the number of patients to include is 198. Economic evaluation will be from a societal perspective.
Discussion/ Conclusion: This is, to our knowledge, the first randomized controlled trial that evaluates an integral treatment of tinnitus that includes a full economic evaluation from a societal perspective. If this intervention proves to be effective and cost-effective, implementation of this intervention is considered and anticipated.
Study Start Date:September 2007
Estimated Study Completion Date:March 2011
Estimated Primary Completion Date:November 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)