Participants’ experiences of an Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy intervention for tinnitus
Objective: This study aimed to explore participants’ experiences after undertaking an Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy intervention (ICBT) for tinnitus.
Design: Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted 6–8 months after participants undertook the ICBT intervention. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to interpret the interview data.
Study sample: A purposeful sampling strategy was used to identify a diverse range of participants. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 15 participants. The mean age was 58.5 years, 7 men and 8 women participated.
Results: The analysis generated the following main themes: (1) expectations and motivation for doing the intervention, (2) experiences of the intervention, (3) intervention engagement and (4) intervention effects. Most participants’ expectations were hopeful that the intervention would lessen the impact of their tinnitus. Aspects of the intervention that were beneficial, as well as difficult, were identified together with the impact they had on engagement. Intervention effects were evident on both tinnitus and activities of daily life.
Conclusions: The benefits described by participants indicate the potential of ICBT as an alternate form of intervention delivery. The difficulties that hampered engagement need to be addressed to enhance the application and to optimise the clinical acceptability of ICBT for tinnitus.