A large British-American internet-based population study examined 4,950 people aged 17-75. The participants answered an online questionnaire about lifetime exposure to noise, tinnitus and other questions and completed an online hearing test.
59% of the sample reported having tinnitus that lasted more than 5 minutes at least some of the time.
Age and noise exposure
The study found that both increasing age and increased exposure to leisure music increased the percentage of people reporting tinnitus. The odds of having tinnitus occasionally or often increased with music exposure and workplace noise. The prevalence of tinnitus also increased gradually with age.
High music exposure reduced the likelihood of answering “Never” on reporting tinnitus by 10 percentage points and a corresponding increase in the likelihood of answering “Occasional” and “Often”.
Three forms of music exposure (pubs/clubs, concerts and personal music players) did not differ in their relationship to tinnitus.
More males than females in the study reported tinnitus.
Tinnitus and hearing difficulty
The study also found a clear relationship between frequency of tinnitus and increasing hearing difficulty. The relationship also persisted after controlling for age, noise and music exposure.
About the study
The participants in the study were primarily recruited among students and employees at UK Medical Research Council in the UK and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in the US.
The study “Lifetime leisure music exposure associated with increased frequency of tinnitus” was published in Hearing Research 347, 2017
Source: Hearing Research