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October 24, 2016

New Zealand: One in twenty has tinnitus

Nearly 5% of the New Zealand population is affected by tinnitus. Slightly more men than women are likely to report tinnitus.

New Zealand: One in twenty has tinnitus

About 207,000 out of 4.6 million New Zealanders – equivalent to 4.5% of the New Zealand population – is affected by tinnitus, a study has found.

The study, carried out among 70,000 New Zealanders over the age of 14 conducted between 2007 and 2013, reveals that tinnitus prevalence is highest among males aged 65 years and older. In the overall population, adults aged 65 years and older were nearly three times more likely to experience tinnitus than younger adults.

“This study has highlighted the importance of sex and age in defining a high-risk tinnitus population,” says Dr Grant Searchfield, a senior lecturer and expert in tinnitus in Audiology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Gender variations

The detailed findings of the study show that differences between genders was most noticeable in young people, with males between 14 and 25 years old being 55% more likely to report tinnitus than females. 

“A notable difference by sex was also seen among adults aged 50 to 64 years, with males 32% more likely to report tinnitus compared to females,” says Dr Daniel Exeter, senior lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health, New Zealand.

The study also revealed ethnic variations in tinnitus prevalence with the largest difference by sex seen among Asian males and females. Asian males were 32% more likely to report tinnitus problems than Asian females.

About tinnitus

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the head or ears even when no real external sound is to be heard. The effects of tinnitus can vary from slight annoyance to disruption of the individual’s life. Read more about tinnitus.

About the study

The study was published in the New Zealand Medical Journal and is the first nationally representative study of tinnitus prevalence in New Zealand. 

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