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The prodigies of the network
Acoustic defects treated through psychological sessions on the Internet: the future of the network?

The complex structure of the ear. The consequences of one of its most annoying defects, tinnitus, can also be treated with the Internet.
The complex structure of the ear. The consequences of one of its most annoying defects, tinnitus, can also be treated with the Internet.

Web therapy works. Even with hearing problems, to be precise with those who suffer from tinnitus auricular, or tinnitus, an auditory sensation of buzzing, hissing, pealing. The disorder affects about 10 to 14 percent of the adult population and causes anxiety, depression, stress and insomnia. To alleviate these psychological repercussions, a research team at Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden has experimented with the online application of cognitive-behavioral therapy already adopted with good results. All in a virtual "environment", via Web pages and e-mail correspondence. The 120 recruited participants were assigned a cognitive-behavioral self-support manual divided into six virtual modules. For a period of six weeks, patients performed exercises in relaxation, breathing and sleep control. In addition, weekly reports have been submitted online to estimate the hearing impairment and the level of stress and depression.
The results. From the "Tinnitus Reaction Questionnaire" it was found that one third of patients between 18 and 70 years of age had substantial improvements in their symptoms. However, 51 percent of the participants abandoned experimentation during the first phase. At the Swedish hospital, the method of combining treatment on the Internet with traditional therapy that involves meeting (not virtual, but physical) with the psychologist is already operational.

(News updated October 13, 2002)