A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Irvine in the US has found that nearly one in ten US adults suffer from tinnitus. Out of an estimated 222.1 million US adults, 9.6 % (21.4 million adults) have experienced tinnitus in the past 12 months. The study was based on data collected among 75,764 respondents over the age of 18.
Among the 21.4 million US adults who reported tinnitus, 27% had symptoms for longer than 15 years and 36% had nearly constant symptoms. Higher rates of tinnitus were reported in those with consistent exposure to loud noises at work and during leisure activities.
Psychological side effects
Tinnitus is known to have various psychological side effects such as reduced concentration, emotional problems, depression and a lower quality of life in general. 7.2% of the respondents reported their tinnitus as a big or very big problem while 42% perceived their condition as a minor problem.
49% of the respondents had discussed their tinnitus with a physician. 9.2% of these had discussed interventions with hearing aids or wearable and non-wearable masking devices (respectively 2.6% and 2.3%). Cognitive behavioral therapy was only discussed by 0.2% of the respondents.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a constant ringing, buzzing or whistling in your ears. Tinnitus is a symptom characterized by the perception of sound in the absence of an external stimulus. Nobody else but you can hear the noise, but it is not a result of your imagination. The most common cause of tinnitus is exposure to noise, but tinnitus can also be caused by e.g. drugs, diseases, stress and head injuries.
The study was published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.