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      Talking therapy

      If tinnitus is making you feel stressed or anxious, your hearing specialist may refer you for talking therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or one-to-one or group sessions that focus on tinnitus.

      Talking about tinnitus, either one to one with a tinnitus specialist or in a group, can be an effective way to start managing your tinnitus.

      Group sessions are usually facilitated by an audiologist and offer you the chance to learn about tinnitus and the different ways that you can manage it. They also give you the opportunity to share your experiences with others who have tinnitus. All discussions are confidential within the group and you don't have to share unless you are comfortable doing so.

      Group sessions are available in some hospitals and are often provided as a starting point, and to assess what services you may need, including whether a one-to-one session would be useful. Group sessions aren't available in every hospital – ask your audiologist what options are available.

      One-to-one sessions are with a specially trained audiologist or tinnitus specialist and also offer you the chance to talk through how tinnitus impacts on your life – the specialist or audiologist can work with you to find the best form of management for you.

      What is CBT?

      CBT can help you to examine your thought patterns and beliefs, and the way you do things, in order to understand why you react in certain ways. It is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, what you do and how your body feels are all connected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.

      Unlike some other talking therapies, CBT doesn’t deal with your past – it deals with current problems you are facing.

      Research has shown that CBT can have a positive effect on tinnitus management. A therapist will encourage and support you to challenge your ways of thinking and feeling about tinnitus, and find the best way for you to deal with it. It should help to improve how you feel about tinnitus, so you are no longer distressed by it. This can help you to tolerate the tinnitus sounds and, over time, they will become less noticeable.

      CBT can be provided one-to-one or in a group therapy session by a specially trained audiologist, clinical psychologist or physchotherapist.

      If you can't get a referral to a CBT therapist through your audiology clinic or tinnitus centre, ask your GP to refer you. Make sure you explain the negative impact that tinnitus is having on your life.

      If you can afford it, you can choose to pay for talking therapy such as CBT privately. The costs of private therapy varies, but it’s usually £40 to £100 per session.

      The experience and qualifications of counsellors can vary greatly, so make sure any counsellor you see is recognised by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy