What is the prevalence of tinnitus?
How many suffer from tinnitus? Nobody really knows how many suffer from tinnitus. Almost all of us experience tinnitus temporarily; perhaps for a few hours after a concert or any other occasion where our ears are subjected to noise. But for some, tinnitus becomes persistent and/or increases.
The majority of people who suffer from tinnitus find it very disturbing and uncomfortable.
But several surveys carried out around the world have found that when asked, around 5% of all adults say that they experience permanent tinnitus in one or both ears.
Figures from tinnitus organisations
According to ATA, The American Tinnitus Association, 45 million Americans are struggling with tinnitus. In Germany, the “Deutsche Tinnitus-Liga” estimates that 19 million Germans have experienced tinnitus and that 2.7 million Germans have persistent tinnitus, of which 1 million have very severe tinnitus. The British Tinnitus Association estimates that 10% of the UK population suffer from tinnitus.
Different surveys – same prevalence
The EuroTrak surveys from 2012 found that 5% of those interviewed in the UK and in France said that they had permanent tinnitus. In the German EuroTrak survey, 7% said that they had permanent tinnitus.
The MarkeTrak 9 survey carried out in the US in 2014 also found a prevalence of tinnitus of 5% among the participants. Three-quarters of those interviewed said that they had tinnitus in both ears.
The figure is also confirmed in a New Zealand study carried out between 2007 and 2013. The study found that 4.5% of the New Zealand adult population suffer from tinnitus.
It is estimated that between 1% and 3% of the world’s population suffer so much from severe tinnitus that it has a significant, negative effect on their daily quality of life.
Noisy work increases the risk of tinnitus
Workers in noisy workplaces are particularly susceptible to tinnitus. Among the most affected professions are musicians, machinists and industrial workers. But teachers in schools and kindergartens also need to take special care of their ears, according to a Danish survey. Tinnitus is almost twice as common among male teachers as among males in other professions.
In scientific literature, a tinnitus prevalence of between 5% and 15% is often mentioned but some of the surveys and studies also include temporary tinnitus.