Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy in tinnitus sufferers - participants needed for study

Participants are needed for our study to better understand if the mode of delivery correlates with therapy effectiveness.

We are looking for people who are experiencing tinnitus to receive internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) through an engaging virtual coach, delivered through an app installed on your mobile phone. The virtual coach, called Tinnibot, will help you better manage your tinnitus and its effects using a chat conversation interface.

The aim of our study is to understand the benefit of human support through video conferencing, in addition to Tinnibot, the virtual coach.

What’s involved?

You will be asked to complete eight weeks of the iCBT program using an app installed on your mobile phone. Before the start of the program you will be invited to complete an online eligibility questionnaire.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, we will book an appointment to explain the study to you and to complete an audiological assessment, and a series of questionnaires.

We will conduct the session in a dedicated testing room located in the Speech Science Group Research Rooms, School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, University of Auckland Grafton campus:

Grafton, Park West
Lower Ground (LG), Building 507
85 Park Road
Auckland Central, 1023

During the eight week program, you will interact with the virtual coach for 5 to 15 minutes per session. 

There will be two groups of participants. The first group will only be completing the iCBT program with the virtual coach. The second group will receive human-delivered counselling through video call in addition to the iCBT program delivered via the virtual coach. The counselling sessions will be scheduled every fortnight (four sessions of 30 minutes). The counselling will be delivered by Dr Cara Wong, who is contracted for the study. You will be randomly assigned to one of the two groups.

At the end of the eight weeks program, and again two months after the end of the program, we will ask you to complete another series of questionnaires.

Eligibility criteria

The eligibility criteria to participate are:

  • Aged 18 and over, and living in New Zealand.
  • Can read and type in English.
  • Have a smartphone which can be used to install the Tinnibot app (Android or iPhone).
  • No difficulties in using a mobile phone (e.g. significant fine motor control or visual problems).
  • Have internet and email access, and the ability to use these.
  • Bothered with tinnitus for a minimum period of 3 months.
  • Have been examined by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist and an audiologist to rule out any medical causes for tinnitus.
  • Your tinnitus is not a consequence of a medical disorder and is not currently under investigation.
  • Committed to complete the initial appointment at the University of Auckland, the eight week tinnitus programme and the online appointments.
  • Agreeing to participate in either group and to be randomised to one of these groups.
  • Not undergoing any tinnitus therapy concurrently.
  • Not reporting any major medical or psychiatric conditions.
  • Not reporting pulsatile, objective or unilateral tinnitus which have not been investigated medically.
  • Be available for two months after finishing the study to complete a follow-up questionnaire.

Contact

Please read the documents below and feel free to contact us for further information.

Dr Fabrice Bardy

Email: fabrice.bardy@auckland.ac.nz

Dr Michael Maslin

Email: michael.maslin@auckland.ac.nz

Professor Suzanne Purdy

Email: sc.purdy@auckland.ac.nz

Documents

Statement of ethics approval

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 27 July 2020 for a period of three years.
Reference Number: 024482