CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme

Tinnitus E-Programme

Go to content
A Case Study from the 12 Module CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme
An extract from webinar on 30th March 2021: A summary case study of a CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme user

How much change can be expected?
This means how much change in your experience of having tinnitus can you expect
Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) Category changes following completion of the 12 stage CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme

Average change by TFI value:
  • Cat 5 pre-course: 84.9% > 29.9% (Cat 2 post-course)
  • Cat 4 pre-course: 64.8% > 20.8% (Cat 2 post-course)
  • Cat 3 pre-course: 45.6% > 19.0% (Cat 2 post course)
Figures published 22 May 2022
From Users of the 12 Module CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme
Intended for Users starting out with initial TFI Category 3, 4 or 5
Declan, UK
Review written at Stage 7 (of 12) 9 weeks after enrolment

"The relaxation element of the course has helped me immensely with managing my ear issues. There is a mix of short exercises which you should sprinkle throughout your day, and longer exercises (guided relaxation) which can be used to properly wind-down at the end of the day, or when things are particularly challenging. I have also found that the relaxation exercises have helped me in a much broader sense, beyond just my ear issues. I have been able to deploy them in relation to work stresses and other day to day challenges. I had some limited experience of guided meditations but the new tools presented have been much more varied and effective for me.

I have become much more aware of my unhelpful/negative thought habits, and how these are more responsible for negative feelings than the physical ear issues (or anything else). By understanding these habits, I can start to challenge them - the Meaning Adjuster has been very good for this. I have a much better understanding of the ear conditions themselves, and much more confidence that they can be overcome. The content is carefully prepared and as someone who has had anxiety issues in the past, I have found it to be paced really well and not overwhelming."

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use this course?
A: "Before starting this course, I had convinced myself that there was nothing that could improve the way I was feeling about the tinnitus. I was so wrong. In the first 8 weeks this course has made such a positive difference and continues to do so. It does require a commitment to use the exercises [they are easy to do] and spend time reflecting on the content, but it is so worth it. The one to one session with Debbie was extremely insightful and supportive. I fully recommend the course."
Sarah, UK
Review written at Stage 7 (of 12 stages) 8 weeks after enrolment

"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. I have also been lucky to be paired with a CBT4T buddy, where we are helping each other with our personal goals and encouragement.

Having access to Debbie's advice and guidance where needed has been a central element to the course. Also having a CBT4T buddy has been and will continue to be helpful. 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."
Laura, UK
Review written at Stage 7 of 12 stages (6 weeks after enrolment)

"The breathing exercises are very helpful, I am now incorporarting these into my daily routine. Guided meditation is also helpful when the noise gets too much. I will continue to use these techniques. It is helpful to read the theory about tinnitus too.This is an excellent course for people suffering daily with tinnitus. Thank you."

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use this course?
A: "Absolutely! I would encourage them to give it a try or to learn about breathing and meditation."
Paul, UK
Review written 9 weeks after completing the 12 modules, 21 weeks after enrolment

"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."
Lilian, UK
Review written 18 weeks after completing the 12 modules (in 13 weeks) - 31 weeks after enrolment

"I heard about this course via The British Tinnitus Association, at the time I was suffering greatly with anxiety and depression due to tinnitus. I must admit this course gave me that lift up that I needed to get things back under control and to feel that I could move forward again. I would certainly recommend it to anyone with distressing tinnitus."

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use this course?
A: "Yes I would definitely recommend this course to anyone with Tinnitus, the education and relaxation advice is brilliant."
Grainne, Eire
Review written at Module 7 stage of 12 modules (7 weeks after enrolment)

"I have found the abdominal breathing very good. When I started the course I was having many spikes and since I started the breathing, the spikes stopped. I have always meditated but the breathing and relaxation exercises really help me. I find the course very practical. It describes the nervous system and tinnitus very well. With that knowledge it helps to keep the relaxation going."

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use this course?
A: "Yes most definitely I would recommend this course. When it started for me it was very distressing and I went down many avenues looking for answers. I spent a lot of money trying different things but this course in my opinion was a great find for me and I would highly reccomend it to anyone suffering from tinnitus."
Hayden, UK
Review written on completion of 12 module process (16 weeks after enrolment)

"Like many others, when I initially signed up for the course, I had spent hours and hours surfing the internet for help. Tinnitus was a relatively new experience for me (Dec 20, just before Christmas). I was in a bad place, panic, anxious, nervous and just really not in a good place. I found the first few weeks, say the first 4 weeks of the course, really calmed me down and get into a better place, once I began to understand how everything was working and I could quickly put two and two together and figure things out. Although I could still hear my tinnitus, I was in a much better place and learning how to cope with it. Debbie, obviously my first initial meeting with her, she knew I was struggling, and I had struggled with health anxiety in the past too, and she knew where my head was straight away. I have still have tinnitus, and it probably won't go away, I have good days and "loud" days, and days where certain things trigger the loudness, for me, various things like red wine / alcohol, sugary sweets and some forms of fitness can spike my loudness and symptoms i.e. running high tempo and cycling etc. But it's now about acceptance and coping, I have tools in my locker now if i am having bad days! Thanks again Debbie, wonderful person and fantastic course :)"

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use this course?
A: "Yes, 100%, I don't want to say why, just sign up for the course and make your own judgement! - Put the work in and you won't be disappointed."

Vina, UK
Review written at Module 7 stage of 12 modules (7 weeks after enrolment)
"I have past experience of meditation, but was struggling to get back on track since the tinnitus had taken over my life, 18 months ago. My anxiety and stress levels were off the scale. The programme is well designed and provides very good insights into tinnitus. I really like the pace of the programme, along with the practical exercises. I had completely immersed myself into the programme and the benefits I started to see were amazing. I used the exercises as a way to take a break from work and I could see my anxiety levels dropped significantly. I found that I started to enjoy other activities a lot more. Definitely a big step change towards positivity. After 7 weeks on the course my TFI Category 4>3. My THI dropped from Cat 5 > Cat 2.

Doing the daily log was very useful, it kept me on track for doing the daily exercises. I have a better understanding of tinnitus and the technical information is available which I can go back and revisit at a later date. Sometimes things make more sense when reviewed again. I could set the pace of the course, where I felt I needed extra time to grasp sometimes. I didn't feel the pressure to move on to next module until I felt comfortable and ready. At times I enjoyed some sections so much that it was harder to move to the next one, but again started to enjoy the next module exercises. I found the course content not only helps with my Tinnitus but it had a positive affect on my overall well being."

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use this course?
A: "Yes, I would highly recommend this course to someone with severe tinnitus distress. My tinnitus started suddenly following an accident 18 months prior to starting the programme. I suffered extreme distress with constant raging ringing in one ear. I was also under tinnitus rehab clinic and wish I had taken the steps to do the course earlier. My clinic recommended this course as they could see how much distress the tinnitus was causing me on daily basis. After 3 months of dwelling I finally took the plunge to complete the questionnaires and it was an eye opener. I am now halfway through my course and it is life changing. Tinnitus is not the end, it no longer has any significance in my life."
Georgina, UK
Review on completion of the 12 Module process (16 weeks after enrolment)
"This is the best resource I've found for helping to manage my tinnitus. As a servere case, I made a full commitment to embracing the 12 week programme and felt the benefits early on - particularly from the breathing exercise and guided relaxation. Finding time also to study the supplied information about the neuroscience behind tinnitus also helps."

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use this course?
A: "I do recommend this programme. Debbie Featherstone is a commendable and empathetic specialist (she also has tinnitus so really understands) and is a huge support."

Georgina's earlier review at Module 7 stage of 12 modules (7 weeks after enrolment)
"The breathing exercises have had a very positive impact - and quickly. I would never have imagined that breathing properly could beneficially alter both mental and physical performance within just a couple of days. My shoulders and neck resumed a normal position and stopped aching. And it made me realise how much I had been holding my breath. The guided relaxation is also good in that it gives you permission to take your foot of the pedal for 30 minutes a day. Not always easy but worth it. I am not completely new to using relaxation but have never done it in a prescribed way like this.

Explanations of neurological pathways and how these can be changed to help manage tinnitus have given substance to my understanding and acceptance of the programme. Submitting daily logs and knowing Debbie Featherstone is keeping a watchful eye, is very supportive too. It feels like teamwork and in all walks of life, this is always effective for me. Most importantly, she knows what she's doing - a committed and knowledgeable specialist building confidence."

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use this course?
A: "Yes. I would say that we are all told there is no cure for tinnitus - so try anything and everything and see what helps you. One off massages, anti-depressants, acupuncture, background music etc, etc.... hasn't worked for me. So, if you want an intelligent and effective way to manage your tinnitus holistically, look no further. This course gives explanations to make sense of it all and that is the key."
Nathalie, UK
(7 weeks after enrolment: TFI Category 5 > 3)
The breathing exercise in particular makes my day easier. I try and do this everyday at least four times. I also see some more benefit doing the physiological breathing too. The modules are set up clearly. Also find the practical exercises along with the information is the right balance

Q: Would you recommend others with tinnitus distress to use the course?
A: Yes, that it does bring your anxiety down and makes you feel a bit more relaxed during the day and in charge of it instead of it in charge of you
Andy, UK
(7 weeks after enrolment: TFI Category 3 > 2)
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.

Laina, UK
Course Completed
(Review 24 weeks after enrolment: TFI Category 4 > 1)
Doing this course has been one of the best things I have ever done! Before starting it, I wasn’t in a good place at all. I had always been quite an anxious person with poor self esteem. I had suffered from bouts of insomnia but day to day, I just kept burying those feelings and the negative thoughts I had too.

In May 2020, in the middle of the COVID lockdown, I developed tinnitus. All my anxieties, worries and doubts spiralled out of control. I didn’t know how I was going to cope. 6 weeks of talking therapy helped but didn’t go deep enough. Then I discovered this CBT course. Right from the first email I sent, Debbie was there with understanding and expertise. The first few months of relaxation was welcome but I wasn’t able to work at that stage and the insomnia and anxiety was pretty bad.

The relaxation strategies really helped though, to help me to calm down especially during or after panic attacks. Debbie was there with support and tips and probing questions which made me start to dig a bit deeper. Being able to log each relaxation exercise, respond to material in each module and to email Debbie if you needed support was amazing. Other online courses don’t have anywhere near the impact due to the lack of individual support. Things began to improve ever so slowly. It was when we started using the cognitive elements of the course that I really begin to see that this course could make a difference though.

Each module had enough material to get you thinking and to reflect about your long held and stubborn thoughts. I realised that my feelings could be adjusted, that I didn’t have to believe them or the negative narrative that I had been telling myself for nearly all my life. I gradually learned how to recognise, explore and then adjust my feelings and thoughts. The Meaning Adjuster tool is great for that and again, Debbie was just there, reading your adjustments and offering support where you needed it.

From that point onwards, I began to have pretty major breakthroughs. It was pretty tough going at times and I would have relapses that would terrify me. Gradually though, I began to believe that this course would work for me, like it works for everyone who is willing or able to commit to it and persevere. I had great support around me at home and Debbie’s invaluable support too.

By the time I did my end of course reassessments [week 17 after enrolment], my TFI score had gone from a category 4 to a 1! The tinnitus was insignificant. My THI score plummeted from category 4 to 1 and my BAI had reduced from close to severe down to mild anxiety. I was over the moon! The course takes commitment and involves lots of reflection and perseverance. I used all of the strategies consistently. I still use them now as I am still on the journey but in an indescribably different place to 9 months ago. Debbie is incredibly dedicated and supportive. Her ethos is to assist your own journey of self discovery but with expert support when it’s needed.

I am so glad that I did this course. After trying to ignore it all for so long, I found my negative core inner belief and I have continued to adjust and challenge it daily. I make sure I take time to look after myself so much more now and I remember what Debbie said, I can manage my thoughts and feelings. Why wouldn’t I be able to? I still have wobbles and some of the really stubborn thoughts are there but they’re getting smaller. I challenge each one of them and I take time to experience and take note of the positives in my life. My belief in myself has grown so much. That is why the tinnitus is insignificant now. I know that I can manage my feelings and if I do have a relapse, I know that by doing the course and continuing to use the strategies, I can get myself back on track. I did it when I was at my lowest and I can do it again and again and again when needed. I have been back in work for two months now and I am feeling so much better. The course was really great and I would most definitely recommended it. Don’t hesitate!

Q: Would you recommend the course to others?
A: Yes. This course has been a major turning points in myself enabling me to address long standing negative thoughts and feelings. It has allowed me to discover greater belief in my ability to cope and manage with difficult situations.

Tracey, UK
(7 weeks after enrolment: TFI Category 4 > 3)
I have tried other relaxation before but didn’t really know what I was doing, I dived in with exercises that were too demanding and ended up getting more stressed. The relaxation exercises in the course were pitched just right for me. I’ve found them of benefit in my feeling I have some control over how I might be physically feeling and feel that they have positively impacted on my sleep. The relaxation logs are quick and easy to access and complete.

The educational element and being able to understand more about the condition has been really useful and really fascinating. Having the zoom 1-1 near the beginning was very helpful in that you feel you are supported right from the start. The ability to keep in touch or ask questions through email is fantastic and has set me back on the right track when i felt I needed help.

I find the pace appropriate and the module content to be about right for me. I liked having the information about tinnitus and how our brain works at the beginning. I liked how the emphasis on calming the system paved the way for the challenging of thoughts.

Q: Would you recommend others with severe tinnitus distress to use the course?
A: Yes I would recommend others with severe tinnitus distress to use the course. I would say that I feel very lucky to have found the course, because that in-depth level of support, knowledge and understanding of tinnitus is sometimes so hard to find and to access, but here it is.

David, UK
(7 weeks after enrolment: TFI Category 4 > 2)
I was already a user of relaxation techniques, but I found it beneficial to have a more structured routine. I believe the relaxation has and is helping though on some days when anxiety levels are high it can be difficult to find a achieve a state of relaxation.

I found the active advice on how to avoid the second arrow to be very interesting. I watched all of the short videos in this section and thought it was very helpful, particularly when they explained how to avoid greater emotional responses by being more accepting of my tinnitus. I have for the most part worked through the course at my own pace, and have not felt either as though I am falling behind or being rushed.

Q: Would you recommend others with severe tinnitus distress to use the course?
A: Yes I would, I am currently not in the same more peaceful place that I was in a few weeks ago [tinnitus onset very recent], but I did realise at that time that my emotional responses and my tinnitus could be separated, providing a degree of relief, and that is what I would suggest to others.

Keith, UK
(7 weeks after enrolment: TFI Category 4 > 2)
Relaxation has been very helpful in "putting aside" my tinnitus even for a relatively short time. This has been my first experience of relaxation exercise and the more you do it , the more useful it becomes. Good for self discipline. The voice on Relaxation 3 [module 6] is not as clear as on 1 and 2 [modules 2 and 4]- maybe because I wear hearing aids.

Understanding Cognitive distortions has enabled me to put things in perspective. I use the notion of STOP regularly and I am signed up to the notion of belief and LIE. The factual content of the course has given me a much clearer understanding of what is going on with my tinnitus. Its comforting to know that what I experience is far from unique! There is much food for thought in the course e.g the distinction between the mind and the brain!

Pace is fine - it is quite a commitment every day so more content would be a problem. Some modules lead to greater, quicker progress than others but this is acceptable. Where an issue arose for me over an element of one module Debbie was swift to offer advice and guidance - very helpful and reassuring. It is good to revisit parts of the course from time to time - as the course progresses so things from previous modules fall more and more into place. Occasionally the "technical" information is daunting but I do not have to remember it all!!!!

Q: Would you recommend others with severe tinnitus distress to use the course?
A: Yes I would recommend it - I would say that they should try it - you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain if you stick with it. I am pleased with my progress to date and am handling my tinnitus much better than before I started. Of course some days are better than others but overall I feel much better about the future!

Samantha, Germany
(7 weeks after enrolment: TFI Category 3 > 2)
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.

Michael, UK
(7 weeks after enrolment: TFI Category 4 > =)
The relaxion exercises have been massively beneficial to me, especially in the early stages when my stress levels were at boiling point. I've learnt that they need to be done routinely and even when feeling ok because its the cumulative effect of doing them that helps with any future challenges you have. It has opened my eyes to what's possible in relation to wellbeing and in particular the meditations have been massively beneficial to me.

The information about what Tinnitus is really helped to calm me in the early days of the course and I found almost instant relief when I learnt Tinnitus isn't something to fear. All of the content has been well thought through I would say and I think its massively important to truly understand the content before moving on to the next stage.

The course content is just right I think. I have felt at times the content could have come quicker but in all honesty i am not sure some of the key messages would have landed and i probably just would have raced ahead. So as it stands i would say its just right but maybe labour the point that this is deliberate and intended to let messages digest and things take thier natural course.

Q: Would you recommend others with severe tinnitus distress to use the course?
A: Yes I would and have. It offers you the best opportunity to improve your Tinnitus and rather than searching for miracle cures and trying lots of different things it gives you a strategy that in time will help you.

(16 weeks after enrolment: TFI Category 4 > 3)
When I started the course I was really struggling with my Tinnitus and as I started working through the course I could feel myself getting better and better. I am in a much healthier place having completed the course and continue to use the content and exercises when things get on top of me.

Q: Do you recommend others to use the CBT for Tinnitus E-Programme?
A: Yes CBT with someone who has so much experience with Tinnitus is the best way to learn to adapt to Tinnitus

Back to content