Train Your Brain:
Tinnitus Mindfulness Class
Peter Vernezze PhD
There is currently no method that can safely and consistently reduce the loudness of tinnitus. But that doesn't mean you are powerless. There is now a substantial body of evidence demonstrating the ability of mindfulness training to reduce tinnitus distress. I am a licensed therapist and qualified teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), the gold standard of mindfulness training, through the University of California at San Diego Center for Mindfulness--one of the few institutes in the U.S. able to certify teachers of MBSR.
A story about my own tinnitus appeared in recent issue of Tinnitus Today. Since being diagnosed with Tinnitus five years ago, I have come to embrace it as part of my daily life. Many have worse burdens, and I joyfully take on the challenge of living a full life with tinnitus. I have designed this course to address the needs of those who, like myself, are dealing with tinnitus. (This website is for the online class. If you want to work 1-1, please go to www.therapistwithtinnitus.com)
My YouTube interview on Treble Health: The Two Techniques That Help Improve Tinnitus
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Four decades of research has demonstrated the effectiveness of this millennia-old discipline in relieving stress, treating heart disease, lowering blood pressure, reducing chronic pain, improving sleep, and alleviating gastrointestinal difficulties. More recently, research studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of mindfulness training in reducing tinnitus distress,
How Train Your Brain Helps
The problem with tinnitus is not the sound of the tinnitus. It's how your body and mind are reacting to the sound of tinnitus. As a result of the sound of tinnitus, your body is going into a state of what is known as fight-or-flight. And your brain is following suit, generating catastrophic thoughts and distressing emotions that only compound the physical distress. While we can't control the sound of our tinnitus, through mindfulness training we can alter how our mind and body respond to the sound of tinnitus, ultimately viewing our tinnitus (and all of our experience) in a non-judgmental manner, neither pushing away nor being overwhelmed by it. This non-reactive attitude towards tinnitus is the key to habituation. Importantly, this is not something we can simply tell ourselves to do; it is something we must train ourselves to do. This class provides the groundwork for rewiring the nervous system to respond to our tinnitus in a different way (neuroplasticity).
Tinnitus and Mindfulness
Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of mindfulness training in reducing tinnitus distress. A 2019 systematic review found that a decrease of tinnitus distress scores occurred directly post therapy in seven moderate to high quality studies, with six of the seven studies showing a "statistically significant decrease in tinnitus distress scores directly after mindfulness training." An eighth study demonstrating the effectiveness of mindfulness training in reducing tinnitus distress was published in 2023.
What to Expect
Each class will consist in a series of mindfulness practices including meditation, body scan, and mindful movement. Students will receive guidance on their practice as well as exercises to help them apply these skills to their tinnitus. In addition, students will be exposed to a variety of other mental health interventions to help them manage their tinnitus.
Students will be expected to engage in 30-45 minutes of daily mindfulness practice. Listen to what past students had to say. A link to the class syllabus can be found below.
“The Mindfulness/Tinnitus class has been a lifesaver. I can now go on and enjoy my life even with Tinnitus. Thank you!
I am a licensed therapist and qualified teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through the University of California at San Diego Center for Mindfulness--one of only two institutes able to certify teachers of MBSR. In addition, I am also a meditation teacher trained in the Buddhist Shambhala tradition. Like you, I have tinnitus and understand your challenges and struggles.
Small Student/Teacher Ratio
I limit the class to 20 in order to preserve a personalized approach and provide individual feedback. There is also an opportunity to interact weekly with other participants in a smaller groups setting.
The cost for the entire six-week class is $269
A full refund (less processing charges) is given if you withdraw before the second class.
6-week, Live Online Program
Next class starts Monday March 18th and runs for six weeks. The class will start at 4:30pm PT/5:30pm MT/6:30pm CT/7:30pm ET. Each class will run for 90 minutes, except for the first class which will go two hours.
Introductory video about the class can be found here.
A Tinnitus Community
Inspired by the belief that community is an integral part of healing, this course provides you the opportunity to learn alongside others with tinnitus in a class led by an instructor who himself has the condition. This sense of community continues after the class ends as class participants are invited to join a private Facebook group only for individuals who have completed the course.
Supplemental Meditation Instruction
Every Wednesday at 6 pm PT/9 pm ET there is a free one-hour Mindfulness Meditation for Tinnitus class. Although anyone with tinnitus may attend, it is an excellent opportunity for those taking the class to deepen their practice. There will be an opportunity as well during this time to ask questions. Here is the zoom link
Peter Vernezze LMSW, PhD
All content found on this website, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The course described on this website is not therapy, since the tinnitus distress it addresses is not a recognized disorder in the DSM 5. If you are suffering from the depression and anxiety that can go along with tinnitus, please see a mental health professional in your area. If you are currently in therapy, please consult with your mental health professional before signing up for this class. If you have any question about whether this class is appropriate for you, I encourage you to contact me before signing up.
If you have a medical or mental health emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.
Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Links to educational content not created by this website and Peter Vernezze are taken at your own risk. This website and Peter Vernezze are not responsible for the claims of external websites.