Manchaiah, V., Valescu, G., Varadaraj, S., Aronson, E.P., Fagelson, M.A., Munoz, M.F., Andersson, G. & Beukes, E.W.
American Journal of Audiology, 29(3), 476-490. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_AJA-20-00002
Publication year: 2020

Objective: Although tinnitus is one of the most commonly reported symptoms in the general population, tinnitus sufferers are challenged by issues related to accessibility of care and intervention options that lack strong evidence to support their use. Therefore, creative ways of delivering evidence-based interventions are necessary. Internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (ICBT) has shown potential as a means of delivering this support, but is not currently available in the US. This paper discusses the adaptation of an ICBT intervention, originally used in Sweden, Germany and in the UK, for tinnitus sufferers in the US. The aim of this study was to (a) modify the web platforms features to suit a US population; (b) adapt its functionality to comply with regulatory aspects, and (c) to evaluate the credibility and acceptability of the ICBT intervention from the perspective of healthcare professionals and tinnitus sufferers.

Materials/Method: Initially the iTerapi ePlatform developed in Sweden was adopted for use in the US. Functional adaptations followed to ensure the platforms functional and security features complied with both institutional and governmental regulations and that it was suitable for a US population. Following these adaptations, credibility and acceptance of the materials were evaluated by both healthcare professionals (n = 11) and tinnitus sufferers (n = 8).

Results: Software safety and compliance regulatory assessments were met. Healthcare professionals and tinnitus sufferers reported favorable acceptance and satisfaction ratings regarding the content, suitability, presentation, usability and exercises provided in the ICBT platform. Modifications to the features and functionality of the platform were made according to user feedback.

Conclusions: Ensuring that the ePlatform employs the appropriate features and functionalities for the intended population is an essential part of developing Internet-based interventions. The favorable user evaluations indicate that the intervention materials are appropriate for the tinnitus population in the US. However, the next step is to conduct an efficacy trial.