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Third-wave therapies for audiological problems (Wang et al., 2022)

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posted on 12.05.2022, 20:50 by Belinda Wang, Rebecca L. Gould, Pavithra Kumar, Liam Pikett, Benjamin Thompson, Sergi Costafreda Gonzalez, Doris-Eva Bamiou

Purpose: There is growing evidence supporting the use of third-wave psychological therapies, such as mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), for people with long-term or chronic physical health conditions. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to critically evaluate the effectiveness of third-wave interventions for improving hearing-related distress and psychological well-being in people with audiological problems.

Method: We searched online bibliographic databases and assessed study quality. We conducted random-effects meta-analyses if at least two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examined hearing-related distress, depression, anxiety, or quality of life in people with audiological problems. Findings of pre–post studies were summarized narratively.

Results: We identified 15 studies: six RCTs and nine pre–post studies. The methodological quality of studies was mostly poor to moderate, and sample sizes were typically small (overall n = 750). Most studies focused on tinnitus (n = 12), MBIs (n = 8), and ACT (n = 6). Statistically significant improvements in hearing-related distress were found with ACT and MBIs versus controls and other treatments at post-intervention in people with tinnitus, while improvements in depression and anxiety were only found for ACT versus controls at post-intervention. However, gains were either not maintained or not examined at follow-up, and there was no evidence for improvements in quality of life.

Conclusions: At present, there is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of third-wave interventions for improving hearing-related distress or psychological well-being in people with audiological problems. There is some evidence that ACT and MBIs may be useful in addressing hearing-related distress in people with tinnitus, but only in the short term. However, findings should be interpreted with caution given the small number of studies with generally small sample sizes and mostly poor-to-moderate methodological quality. More high-quality, adequately powered, double-blind RCTs, particularly in audiological problems other than tinnitus, are needed to draw firm conclusions and meaningful clinical recommendations.


Supplemental Material S1. Characteristics of third-wave therapies.


Wang, B., Gould, R. L., Kumar, P., Pikett, L., Thompson, B., Gonzalez, S. C., & Bamiou, D.-E. (2022). A systematic review and meta-analysis exploring effects of third-wave psychological therapies on hearing-related distress, depression, anxiety, and quality of life in people with audiological problems. American Journal of Audiology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2022_AJA-21-00162

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