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Tinnitus E-Programme

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Group 3 TFI Initial Category 3

Change achieved by those starting the CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme with a Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) Category 3: 32-53% (moderate problem)  

Kirk, USA

Final review from Kirk - 21 weeks after enrolment:
"The Tinnitus E-Programme has been life changing for me. It is very educational and well thought out. I had no idea how connected tinnitus is to the fight or flight reflex, anxiety, etc. The program was easy to follow, included weekly accountability and allows one to progress at their own pace. I’ve completed the program but will be using some of the relaxation and visualization exercises and the other resources for the rest of my life. Excellent program. Amazing results."

Q: Do you recommend others to use the Tinnitus E-Programme and if so, please say why:
A: "Yes! It works!"

Kirk's review written at Stage 6 (10 weeks after enrolment)
  • Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) 52.8% > 16.0% (category 3: 32-53% moderate problem > category 1: 0-17% not a problem)
  • Stress (PSS) 17 > 6 (14-26 moderate stress > 0-13 low stress)
  • Anxiety (ASQ) 35.3% > 4.7% (31-60% moderate > under 10% negligible)

Q: Do you recommend others to use the CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme?
A: "Yes! Knowing that others have gone before me, and that still others are currently in the course has helped me feel like I’m not alone. I’ve learned a lot and look forward to progressing through the remaining lessons."

Q: What benefit have you experienced using the relaxation element of the course so far?
A: "Having never used breathing or guided relaxation before, I was skeptical. I can now say that these two techniques have been incredibly helpful for me. Using them consistently is the key."

Q: How has the neuroscience-based learning about the amygdala, autonomic ladder and brain plasticity helped you to relate to your experience of tinnitus, anxiety and stress?
A: "Very much so. I never realized there was a relationship between my tinnitus and what was going on in my life regarding stress and anxiety. I always thought my tinnitus was more of a structural condition. Learning the top down vs bottom up way the amygdala works with the upper brain has been fascinating."

Q: What have you learned from the costs & benefits transaction work (used from stage 3)? Estimate how much you have already adjusted from having a problem-oriented perspective towards a recovery-oriented perspective (e.g. 2/10 > 7/10 indicates an improvement of 5 so far)
A: "Reframing my perspective from problem to recovery has been important. I’m a “fixer” by nature so I’m usually recovery oriented in general. But with tinnitus, I was stuck being problem oriented."

Q: You are likely to have had your first 1-1 by now. Did you benefit from your 1-1 and if so, how?
A: "My first 1-1 was great. Debbie helped me understand that the program cannot be rushed, everyone will progress at their own pace. Staying in the program consistently and patiently is the key."

Q: What is your own impression of your progress to date?
A: "Overall I’m feeling less stress and anxiety. My tinnitus still blares most mornings when I wake, but I notice it less during the day. Most days I now wake feeling like I’ve slept better, and I seldom wake up feeling anxious anymore."
Rose, UK
Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) 36.4% > 8.8% (category 3: moderate problem > category 1: not a problem)
Completed 16 weeks after enrolment

Final review
Q: Do you recommend others to use the Tinnitus E-Programme and if so, please say why:
A: "I strongly recommend the programme. The breathing and relaxing exercises made a real difference to my life and have made me calmer. The reframing exercises have been invaluable in so many life situations, not just tinnitus, and Debbie is a very encouraging and supportive guide."

"The Tinnitus E-Programme has been incredible for managing my tinnitus. I wasn’t sure if it would be right for me, as my tinnitus distress at the beginning was moderate, not severe. Having done the programme, I think anyone can benefit from it, however severe their distress is. I barely think about tinnitus now and when I do notice it, I have a very neutral response, no longer laden with negative emotions. I also no longer avoid situations which I think might aggravate the tinnitus as I know I can manage it."

Review written at Stage 6 (of 12) 12 weeks after enrolment
Q: Do you recommend others to use the CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme?
A: "Yes I would recommend the course. Doing the daily logs and weekly SITREPs helps you stick to the work and get results. It would be much harder trying to manage it alone and the temptation to give up is greater if you haven’t this daily/weekly responsibility to log and check in. The breathing and relaxation exercises can be fitted into even a busy life and regular practice of them makes a huge difference. Using the meaning adjuster is really helpful in reframing negative and unhelpful thinking patterns."

Q: What benefit have you experienced using the relaxation element of the course so far?
A: "I wasn’t new to relaxation/meditation - I had done it at the end of yoga over many years, but just for very short periods of time and as a bit of an add-on. What I have learned on this course has been much more in depth and effective, particularly because of doing it daily."

Q: How has the neuroscience-based learning about the amygdala, autonomic ladder and brain plasticity helped you to relate to your experience of tinnitus, anxiety and stress?
A: "The science has been the least familiar part of the course and probably the most difficult, as I’m not used to reading lots of science but it has helped me understand more about the links between anxiety and tinnitus."

Q: What have you learned from the Costs & Benefits Transaction work (used from Stage 3)? Estimate how much you have already adjusted from having a PROBLEM-ORIENTED perspective towards a RECOVERY-ORIENTED perspective (e.g. 2/10 > 7/10 indicates an improvement of 5 so far)
A: "The costs/benefit transaction work was very helpful and has helped me adjust to using recovery orientated perspectives on a range of issues, not just tinnitus. I estimate that my improvement has been from 3/10 to 8/10."

Q: You are likely to have had your first 1-1 by now. Did you benefit from your 1-1 and if so, how?
A: "It was good to meet Debbie finally and I enjoyed talking about my progress so far and found her very encouraging and friendly. It was very relaxed and I was inspired by Debbie to believe that I can at some point stop the course and carry on what I’ve learned by myself."

Q: What is your own impression of your progress to date?
A: "I feel a lot better than when I started in November. I was moderately affected by tinnitus then but am only mildly affected by it now so I feel I’ve made a lot of progress."
Nigel, UK
Review written at Stage 7 (of 12) 12 weeks after enrolment
Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) 34.8% > 16.8% (category 3: moderate problem > category 1: not a problem)

Q: Do you recommend others to use the CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme?
A: "Yes, definitely. I have already recommended to a couple of others."

Q: What benefit have you experienced using the relaxation element of the course so far?
A: "I was a lapsed yogi, and this course has brought me back to it, especially meditation/nidra. I’m quite attentive to my smart watch, so have observed the objective reduction in stress (heart rate and heart rate variability), when I do the right things (and the opposite when I don’t)."

Q: How has the neuroscience-based learning about the amygdala, autonomic ladder and brain plasticity helped you to relate to your experience of tinnitus, anxiety and stress?
A: "I always find that understanding how things work, makes more likely to ‘believe in it’ - I’m not one for blind faith. Given that one thing invariably leads to another, I’ve bought a book about yoga anatomy and am currently reading a chapter on the anatomy (and neurology) of breath."

Q: What have you learned from the Costs & Benefits Transaction work (used from Stage 3)? Estimate how much you have already adjusted from having a PROBLEM-ORIENTED perspective towards a RECOVERY-ORIENTED perspective (e.g. 2/10 > 7/10 indicates an improvement of 5 so far)
A: "5/10 > 8/10. Whenever I ‘note’ a thought, I try to ask myself: “what do I get from this?”. It’s becoming a broader habit, beyond tinnitus i.e. avoiding the recent news on Israel-Palestine, and any political debates thereon."

Q: What is your own impression of your progress to date?
A: "I’ve learnt some new things, been reminded of others, but most importantly learnt how to apply relaxation and reframing techniques to tinnitus."
Markus, UK
Review written at Stage 7 (of 12) 11 weeks after enrolment
Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) reduced from 52.8% > 18.4% at Stage 6 of 12

"I was new to relaxation and meditation and it's made a large and positive difference. My perception of tinnitus has changed significantly over the past few weeks, from noticing it constantly to only occasionally, and it does not impact my daily life anymore. To a large extent, this seems to be down to my daily breathing exercises (in addition to my other exercises). I started doing breathing exercises six times a day. This is now down to three times, but it's become part of my daily routine and I am likely to continue with it.

The course has been useful overall, incl. the theoretical parts and the practical exercises. In addition to the breathing exercises, I have used the Meaning Adjuster (not so much anymore because using it - together with the breathing and relaxation - has meant I don't experience particularly strong emotions related to tinnnitus anymore), the autogenic exercises and the attention-switch exercise (I like this one a lot and try to do it daily).

The pace feels right. It was helpful that you told me in our 1-1 that I might consider slowing down a bit (I progressed from module to module on a weekly basis initially). I think it was useful to spend a bit more time on each module as the course progressed."

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use this course?
A: "Yes I would. I would tell them about my own experience and how the course has helped me."
Sarah, UK
Completed
Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) reduced from 48.0% > 23.6% on completion
Note: You'll find Sarah's review at Stage 7 (of 12) below

"This course has turned things around for me hugely. I am still only 6 months into my tinnitus experience but through the guidance of this course and Debbie directly, have, from a comparatively early stage, been able to identify the fuel that I had been using to fire my tinnitus distress, and at times, put the fire out completely. I started the course in a physically and mentally bad place - but am far better 4 months later. Do not be fooled, this course requires your time and engagement, but if you follow the activities, reading and give yourself time, the results will be positive. I still hear my tinnitus, this course is for your distress, not your sound - BUT, by allowing my mind to give up the battle, to challenge and burst those negative thoughts, I have created the space for my brain to focus on the good stuff in life. Which means I notice my tinnitus less - or if I do notice it, I do not default into a negative space, or fairly quickly identify I've gone to the negative space and find my way out. There's so many helpful elements to the course - you will find something within it that helps I guarantee it."

Q: Do you recommend others to use the CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme?
A: "I would recommend others to use this, to put a different perspective on your tinnitus experience and open the door to a way of managing your tinnitus distress that you may not have considered, or believed is possible."

Review written at Stage 7 (of 12 stages) 8 weeks after enrolment
Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) reduced from 48.0% > 31.6% at Stage 6 of 12 (Final TFI on completion 23.6%)

"I have gone from being barely able to sit alone with my tinnitus without panicking, to getting much much closer to acceptance and non-reactivity. The relaxation has had a profound physical effect on my body and given me more confidence to go about my daily life, making plans for the future, unperturbed by tinnitus. I had already used the calm app prior to this course for some years, but with no structure or routine - just 'as and when'. By having regular and consistent use of a range of new, tinnitus appropriate relaxation tools, I have balanced my life. I had also used the oto app, which helped introduce me at an early stage of tinnitus to CBT and ACT, but it did not go deep enough to address personal thoughts and feelings.

Many parts of the informative and engaging content have stayed with me on a daily basis - for example 'just because you have a problem does not mean you have to be unhappy'. Being able to recognise my cognitive distortions was a very big change for me, to pull them out of my mind and understand there is a reason why these thoughts go on repeat. Whilst at the start of the course I wanted to go faster, and couldn't wait for the next stage to open, I now entirely understand why it starts with the breath work and then builds into the CBT content and am consciously slowing it down to ensure I get the best out of every stage.

Having access to Debbie's advice and guidance where needed has been a central element to the course. The relaxations are different to what I expected; but in a good way - they are certainly doing what they need to do. I think having the ability to submit the work done on cognitive distortions, second arrows, meaning adjuster, weekly checks, practical elements, means that you are accountable to yourself and this was exactly what I needed to help me reduce the significance of tinnitus in my life."

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use this course?
A: "I would highly recommend this course to others with severe tinnitus distress. From someone who thought their life was going to be permanently disadvantaged as a result of tinnitus, in the space of 7 weeks, I have turned a huge corner and life feels almost 'normal' again. I was of course sceptical as I started - I didn't think I'd ever be one of the people writing a testimonial - but now I know that was my self-talk going round my head and I see and experience the world differently than I did in the throes of my tinnitus distress."
Paul, UK
Review written 9 weeks after completing the 12 modules, 21 weeks after enrolment
Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) reduced from 49.2% > 9.2% on completion

"This course has been life transforming for me. Before I started the course, I was constantly focussed on the tinnitus (March 2021 onset) and had taken time off work for associated anxiety. Now it rarely comes to mind and when it does, it has no emotional impact on me and I fairly quickly forget about it. It is occasionally mildly annoying when I am tired or stressed, but that's about it. Sleep, concentration back to normal and no real impact anymore on quality of life. Before I started the course, I read reviews like the one I am writing and thought that these type of outcomes may be possible for others, but not for me (I thought my tinnitus was very loud and intrusive, and I have several different sounds). However, the course works if you put in the effort (for me about an hour a day for a fairly solid three month period). Tinnitus is a mechanism as Debbie says. Quite a complex one, but a mechanism nonetheless and as a matter of basic biology / physiology, it can be massively improved to the point when it is no longer bothersome. It worked for me and will work for anyone as we are all biologically and physiologically the same, with the same systems and mechanisms. The course gave me the tools to reclaim my life and put tinnitus in its place. I have re-trained my brain and created new neural pathways so that it really doesn't bother me anymore. I still wish it would go completely. However, as my brain has stopped seeing it as a threat and got bored of it, the loudness perception has gone down significantly so that I can say that it no longer affects my quality of life to any significant degree.

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use this course?
A: "The course is very accessible, not too much to cope with at the point of distress and structured so as to enable you to start to feel some relief and sense of control fairly quickly. It then builds and goes really quite deep. The section on core beliefs was the breakthrough for me. Debbie's support is invaluable. She is so experienced and immensely re-assuring. I cannot recommend this course highly enough to anyone who is suffering from tinnitus distress. Give it a go, you will not regret it."
Andy, UK
(7 weeks after enrolment: TFI Category 3 > 2)
Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) reduced from 53.6% > 30.0% at Stage 6 of 12

"I've used relaxation methods before but the ones on the course are good because varied. The course content is interesting and illuminating. I like the balance of text and videos, and the research-led aspect of it. The course content is well-paced and about right in terms of content."

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use the course?
A: Yes, I would recommend it. It certainly helps to understand the physical and psychological processes that are taking place, and has made me acutely aware of the way I habitually interpret situations. I would make prospective participants aware that the exercises in particular require commitment and a significant amount of time.

Course Completed
(22 weeks after enrolment)
The course was both interesting and helpful. Through the extensive research that the course draws on, I learned how powerful the mind can be in making tinnitus better or worse. The course showed how the behavioural and mental habits that produce over-anxious, stressed responses to tinnitus can be broken, and new habits of thinking formed. The practical resources were also usefully varied: there were different relaxation and breathing exercises to try and I was able to find ones that suited me. My tinnitus has not gone away, and I am sometimes still frustrated by it, but I am coping with it far better than I was.
Q: Would you recommend the course to others?
A: I would recommend this course because it is very comprehensive and offers a range of approaches and resources which have helped me considerably. The course does require commitment and discipline, to reap the full benefits, but for me this was definitely worth it.
Samantha, Germany
(7 weeks after enrolment: TFI Category 3 > 2)
Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) reduced from 45.6% > 25.2% by Stage 6 of 12

"I already had some experience with Yoga and meditation. I had no idea the impact and clarity small exercises throughout the day could bring. It helped me start functioning normally. I found it so useful understanding how tinnitus works and knowing the my brain can learn to ignore it and put it in the background."

Q: Would you recommend others with severe tinnitus distress to use the course?
A: Yes, stop waiting and do something to keep living your life.

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CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme Ltd
Company Number: 15206830
Company Director: Debbie Featherstone


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