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March 19, 2014

Gender a factor in the side effects of tinnitus

Women may be more inclined to effects of tinnitus, according to study.

Chronic tinnitus is a serious health problem which often comes with a number of secondary annoyances and effects, for instance cognitive distress and sleep disturbances.

According to a study, significant differences between female and male patients exist, in relation to gender and age, indicating that women are more inclined to such secondary effects.

The study included 607 female and 573 male who reported tinnitus for longer than 3 months. The age of the patients ranged from 17 to 81 in both gender groups. The results showed that women were more annoyed by tinnitus and perceived more stress than the men did. In addition, women scored lower than the men in proactive coping, sense of coherence and personal resources, but had lower levels of hearing loss and tinnitus loudness than men did.

The authors concluded that gender differences regarding tinnitus-related distress in patients with chronic tinnitus do exist; however, these differences depend on age and in part on the duration of the tinnitus.

Tinnitus annoyance stronger in women

In the study, tinnitus annoyance was stronger in the middle-age groups of women and men (45-59 years of age) than in younger patients. Furthermore, the annoyance decreased again in older men (more than 60 years of age), but not in older women.

The analysis of the three age groups thus revealed significant differences between older female and male patients, indicating that tinnitus annoyance may be stronger in women.

Recommendations

According to the researchers, the female tinnitus patients may benefit from physiotherapy-oriented approaches such as exercise and relaxation techniques.

Furthermore, cognitive behavioural therapy might help them to strengthen their self-esteem and reduce their cognitive distress. In addition, group therapies may be especially useful in comparing different attitudes, developing functional cognitive strategies and reducing anxiety.

About the study

The research was carried out by Dr. Claudia Sedel and her team of researchers from the Tinnitus centre at ”?Charité' University Hospital in Berlin. The findings of the research were published in the health journal ”?Ear and Hearing'.

Source:  Audiology Infos, no. 22, September-October 2013

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