Assessing mindfulness-based cognitive therapy intervention for tinnitus using behavioural measures and structural MRI: a pilot study

Fatima T. Husain, Benjamin Zimmerman, Yihsin Tai, Megan K. Finnegan, Emily Kay, Faaiza Khan, Christopher Menard, Robyn L. Gobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We used a minimally-modified version of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to treat symptoms of distress associated with tinnitus. Design: Audiological screening (establishing a baseline) was conducted prior to treatment and at three time-points: pre-intervention, post-intervention and follow-up, 8 weeks after completion of training. MRI tests were also conducted at these three time-points. Study sample: Twenty-one participants were enrolled in the study, of whom 15 completed training and audiological testing and eight completed the MRI portion of the study. Results: Scores on tinnitus-related questionnaires showed a significant decline either from pre- to post-intervention or from pre-intervention to follow-up, despite no significant change during baseline. Voxel-based morphometric analysis of the structural MRI scans revealed clusters in bilateral superior frontal gyrus that exhibited significant increases in grey matter volume over the period of intervention and follow-up. Further, grey matter changes in occipital and cingulate regions correlated with declines in tinnitus handicap. Conclusions: This pilot study supports MBCT as an adequate approach for treating distressing tinnitus and suggests that neuroanatomical changes may reflect reductions in tinnitus-related severity. Although our small sample size precludes drawing strong conclusions, there is potential for assessing neuroanatomical changes due to mindfulness-based interventions in tinnitus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-901
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2019


  • MRI
  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
  • behavioural measures
  • grey matter
  • tinnitus
  • voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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