Motivational Interviewing as an Adjunct to Hearing Rehabilitation for Patients with Tinnitus: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial

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Abstract

Purpose:

To test the effects of a brief motivational interviewing (MI) program as an adjunct to hearing aid rehabilitation for patients with tinnitus and sensorineural hearing loss.

Research Design:

This was a pilot randomized controlled trial.

Study Sample:

The sample consisted of 50 patients aged between 40 and 82 yr with both tinnitus and sensorineural hearing loss and a pure-tone average (0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz) < 70 dB HL. All patients were first-time hearing aid users.

Intervention:

A brief MI program was used during hearing aid fitting in 25 patients, whereas the remainder received standard practice (SP), with conventional hearing rehabilitation.

Data Collection and Analysis:

A total of 46 patients (N = 23 + 23) with tinnitus were included for further analysis. The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and the International Outcome Inventory for Hearing Aids (IOI-HA) were administered before and after rehabilitation. THI was used to investigate changes in tinnitus annoyance, and the IOI-HA was used to determine the effect of hearing aid treatment.

Results:

Self-reported tinnitus disability (THI) decreased significantly in the MI group (p < 0.001) and in the SP group (p < 0.006). However, there was greater improvement in the MI group (p < 0.013). Furthermore, the findings showed a significant improvement in patients' satisfaction concerning the hearing aids (IOI-HA, within both groups; MI group, p < 0.038; and SP group, p < 0.026), with no difference between the groups (p < 0.99).

Conclusion:

Tinnitus handicap scores decrease to a greater extent following brief MI than following SP. Future research on the value of incorporating MI into audiological rehabilitation using randomized controlled designs is required.

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