Better Together. Group versus individual Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for tinnitus: A Multiple-Baseline Single-Case Experimental Design

Matheus P. C. G. Lourenco*, Thomas E. Fuller, Saskia Ranson, Johan W. S. Vlaeyen, Rilana F. F. Cima

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Chronic tinnitus is effectively treated through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Both group and individual CBT for tinnitus are effective, but no study has directly compared the two. The current study explores group versus individual CBT for tinnitus.

DESIGN: A multiple-baseline single-case experimental design was employed to observe changes within/between individual and group treatments. Six participants started a 10-week CBT protocol and were equally divided into individual or group treatment. Participants were exchanged between treatments at random time points. Diary data included 14 variables on tinnitus experience (e.g. annoyance and distraction) and wellbeing (e.g. happiness and stress). Five male participants (59- to 67-year-old) completed treatment.

RESULTS: Randomization tests comparing means between individual and group treatments did not reveal significant differences. Analysis of data overlap and trend (Tau-U) revealed minor significant improvements for seven variables (50%) in group treatment as compared to individual treatment. Diminished happiness and activity levels were observed in participants who went from group to individual treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Low effect sizes and homogeneity of sample restrict the generalizability of data. Group CBT indicated potential benefits when compared to individual CBT. Social learning may be an underlying process in group delivery boosting tinnitus recovery. Findings are limited to male patients with chronic disabling tinnitus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-178
Number of pages12
JournalEar and Hearing
Issue number1
Early online date19 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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