Beukes, E.W., Baguley, D.M., Allen, P.M., Manchaiah, V. & Andersson, G.
Trials, 18(1), 1-11. DOI: 10.1186/s13063-017-1931-6.
Publication year: 2017

Abstract

Background: Innovative strategies are required to improve access to evidence-based tinnitus interventions. A guided Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) intervention for tinnitus was therefore developed for a U.K. population. Initial clinical trials indicated efficacy of iCBT at reducing tinnitus severity and associated comorbidities such as insomnia and depression. The aim of this phase III randomised controlled trial is to compare this new iCBT intervention with an established intervention, namely face-to-face clinical care for tinnitus. Methods/design: This will be a multi-centre study undertaken across three hospitals in the East of England. The design is a randomised, two-arm, parallel-group, non-inferiority trial with a 2-month follow-up. The experimental group will receive the guided iCBT intervention, whereas the active control group will receive the usual face-to-face clinical care. An independent researcher will randomly assign participants, using a computer-generated randomisation schedule, after stratification for tinnitus severity. There will be 46 participants in each group. The primary assessment measure will be the Tinnitus Functional Index. Data analysis will establish whether noninferiority is achieved using a pre-defined non-inferiority margin. Discussion: This protocol outlines phase III of a clinical trial comparing a new iCBT with established face-to-face care for tinnitus. If guided iCBT for tinnitus proves to be as effective as the usual tinnitus care, it may be a viable additional management route for individuals with tinnitus. This could increase access to evidence-based effective tinnitus care and reduce the pressures on existing health care systems. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02665975. Registered on 22 January 2016.