Mindfulness Reduces Tinnitus Bother and Decreases Neural Awareness Networks

Discussion in 'Research News' started by jazz, Feb 28, 2015.

    1. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      A new study on MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) further establishes that the therapy helps people with chronic, bothersome tinnitus. Most impressively, the therapy helps to make you less aware of the tinnitus precept by reducing connections in your attention networks as evidenced by MRI studies. Becoming less aware of your tinnitus--and less bothered by it whether aware or not--is essential for habituation. And MBSR appears to do both: it decrease one's bother (specifically, it decreases depression) and it weakens one's attention to the tinnitus precept.

      Personally, I'm still doing my mindfulness meditation and am sleeping better. It's also helped me have less bad days. Mindfulness definitely has an important place as part of an overall habituation strategy.

      Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Feb 24. pii: 0194599815571556. [Epub ahead of print]

      Effects of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Therapy on Subjective Bother and Neural Connectivity in Chronic Tinnitus.

      Roland LT1, Lenze EJ2, Hardin FM3, Kallogjeri D3, Nicklaus J3, Wineland AM3, Fendell G2, Peelle JE3, Piccirillo JF3.
      Author information

      To evaluate the impact of a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in patients with chronic bothersome tinnitus on the (1) severity of symptoms of tinnitus and (2) functional connectivity in neural attention networks.

      Open-label interventional pilot study.

      Outpatient academic medical center.

      A total of 13 adult participants with a median age of 55 years, suffering from bothersome tinnitus.

      An 8-week MBSR program was conducted by a trained MBSR instructor. The primary outcome measure was the difference in patient-reported tinnitus symptoms using the Tinnitus Handicap Index (THI) and Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) between pre-intervention, post-MBSR, and 4-week post-MBSR assessments. Secondary outcomes included change in measurements of depression, anxiety, mindfulness, and cognitive abilities. Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed at pre- and post-MBSR intervention time points to serve as a neuroimaging biomarker of critical cortical networks.

      Scores on the THI and TFI showed statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement over the course of the study with a median ΔTHI of -16 and median ΔTFI of -14.8 between baseline and 4-week follow-up scores. Except for depression, there was no significant change in any of the secondary outcome measures. Analysis of the resting state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) data showed increased connectivity in the post-MBSR group in attention networks but not the default network.

      Participation in an MBSR program is associated with decreased severity in tinnitus symptoms and depression and connectivity changes in neural attention networks. MBSR is a promising treatment option for chronic bothersome tinnitus that is both noninvasive and inexpensive.

      © American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation 2015.

      functional connectivity MRI; neuroplasticity; tinnitus​


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    2. DebInAustralia

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Team Research

      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      thankyou Jazz ...
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    3. HugoW

      HugoW Member Benefactor

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      I think mindfulness is certainly a good place to start habituation! I never regret following a MF-course. I am so much more aware of my anxiety and thoughts. Mindfulness gives you that sturdy emotional base to lean on and helps to nullify any negativity (or positivity :) in your emotional state. It certainly supports me. Everyone should be aware of their own thoughts and be capable to deal with them objectively and effectively, MF is useful for everyone and not just T sufferers.
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    4. marqualler

      marqualler Member Benefactor

      Minneapolis, MN
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection / Mild Noise Induced Hearing Loss
      Great information @jazz This certainly gives some good backing to Mindfulness-based techniques for tinnitus. Has anybody here ever tried @Dr. Gans' MBTSR 8 week seminar? I have pondered giving that a shot--I have always wanted to do a Mindfulness seminar.
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    5. AUTHOR
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      I don't believe anyone has done it. Perhaps, the expense is the issue. Something like headspace.com is cheap, and it teaches you how to meditate using mindfulness techniques. They don't claim to be MBSR, but I'm sure their techniques are similar to Jon Kabat-Zin's protocol. And they are probably comparable in reducing stress and anxiety. Of note, the founder of headspace.com was a former Buddhist monk.

      Once you know you like meditation--or at least are able to tolerate it--you can proceed to sites that specifically teach MBSR for tinnitus; or, conversely, you can stay with headspace and do their modules on stress and anxiety, for these two emotions are essential to maintaining the tinnitus precept in our brains and thus are barriers to habituation.

      Very true! The same anxiety we experience with our tinnitus was probably part of our lives before we got this affliction. That's why it's important we tame our emotions because tinnitus is very stressful. :)

      Of course, I still want a cure. But I am also pro-habituation! :)
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    6. MarioT
      No Mood

      MarioT Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress + SSRI medication
      I am currently doing an MBSR course. Tough cookie, not sure yet.. the silent meditation increases my T awareness and usually after that I feel pretty exhausted. I am positive though that with a lot of discipline, practice and best in combination with body work like yoga it can have a really positive impact on your life quality.
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