ORIGINAL PAPER
New challenges for clinical health psychology in diagnosis and therapy of tinnitus
 
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Submission date: 2014-04-23
Final revision date: 2014-06-15
Acceptance date: 2014-06-15
Online publication date: 2014-07-02
Publication date: 2014-07-03
 
Health Psychology Report 2014;2(2):115–122
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background
Tinnitus is becoming a social issue as the number of individuals suffering from this condition is still increasing. The aim of this study was to analyze the characteristics of tinnitus and related distress, as well as general psychiatric distress of affected individuals.

Participants and procedure
The study included 169 tinnitus patients aged between 22 and 88 years (mean 53.52). The duration of tinnitus ranged between 5 months and 30 years (mean 5.29 years). The participants presented either with normal hearing or with hearing loss. The study was based on a standardized interview and examination with two psychometric instruments: the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) and the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI).

Results
Duration of tinnitus, its subjective severity, experiencing negative emotions and lack of social support turned out to be a composite measure determining the level of tinnitus-related distress. In turn, the level of psychiatric distress was determined by sex of the participants, presence of difficulties in life, subjective severity of tinnitus and lack of social support.

Conclusions
Characteristics of tinnitus and its psychological consequences affect various functional aspects and health of the affected patients. The diagnostic instruments used in the study (THI and GHQ-28) proved to be appropriate and identified a subset of tinnitus patients who required appropriate psychotherapeutic intervention. The complex situation of patients experiencing subjective signs of tinnitus points to a necessity of cooperation between specialists in laryngology and psychologists, as a vital component of multidisciplinary evaluation and the therapeutic process.
 
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