Epidemiology of Tinnitus in Adults
Many studies have addressed the prevalence of tinnitus, but the definition of tinnitus has varied.
Some studies have reported that as many as 80% of the adult population experience tinnitus at some point.
Six large population studies in different countries reported prevalence of prolonged tinnitus, varying between 4.4 and 15.1% for adults and between 7.6 and 20.1% for individuals below the age of 50 years. One of the studies reported that 2.4% of the population responded “yes” to the description of tinnitus as “tinnitus plagues me all day.”
A study in four cities in England found that tinnitus, on average, occurred in 17.5% of the participants in the age group of 40–60 years and 22.2% in participants above the age of 60 years.
Since tinnitus has many forms and its prevalence varies with age and, to some extent, gender, the prevalence of tinnitus cannot be described by a single number.
The prevalence of tinnitus increases monotonically up to the age of approximately 70 years, above which the prevalence either becomes constant or decreases slightly with age.
The prevalence of tinnitus is lower in women up to 75 years, above which the gender difference becomes small.
There is some evidence that noise exposure increases the risk of tinnitus.
The odds of having tinnitus increases with the degree of hearing loss when measured at 4 kHz.
While reported “trouble hearing” increases monotonically with age, “bothersome tinnitus” increases with age only up to the age group of 65–74, after which it becomes independent of age or decreases slightly with age.
KeywordsTinnitus Epidemiology Prevalence Adults Hearing loss Noise exposure
- 1.Dobie RA, (2004) Overview: Suffering from Tinnitus, in Tinnitus: Theory and management, JB Snow, Editor. 2004, BC Decker Inc.: Hamilton. 1–7.Google Scholar
- 4.Hoffmann HJ and GW Reed, (2004) Epidemiology of Tinnitus, in Tinnitus: Theory and management, JB Snow, Editor. 2004, BC Decker: Hamilton. 16–41.Google Scholar
- 5.Davis A, (1995) Hearing in adults. The prevalence and distribution of hearing impairment and reported hearing disability, in MRC Institute of Hearing Research’s National Study of Hearing. 1995, Whurr Publishers Ltd.: London.Google Scholar
- 7.Ries P, (1994) Prevalence and characteristics of persons with hearing trouble: United States, 1990–91, in Vital and health statistics. 1994, National Center for Health Statistics: Hyattsville (MD).Google Scholar
- 8.Adams P and M Marano, (1995) Current estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 1994., in Vital and health statistics. 1995, National Center for Health Statistics: Hyattsville (MD).Google Scholar
- 9.Benson V and M Marano, (1998) Current estimates from the National Health Interview Survey 1995., in Vital and health statistics. 1998, National Center for Health Statistics: Hyattsville (MD).Google Scholar
- 15.Coles RRA, (1981) Epidemiology of tinnitus, in Ciba Foundation Symposium 85. 1981, Pitman Books Ltd. 16–34.Google Scholar
- 16.Coles R, (2000) Medicolegal issues, in Tinnitus handbook, R Tyler, Editor. 2000, Singular Publishing: San Diego. 399–417.Google Scholar
- 19.Henry JA, M Meikle and A Gilbert, (1999) Audiometric correlates of tinnitus pitch, in Proceedings of the Sixth International Tinnitus Seminar J Hazell, Editor. 1999, The Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Centre: London. 51–7.Google Scholar
- 20.Rubinstein B, T Österberg and U Rosenhall (1992) Longitudinal fluctuations in tinnitus reported by an elderly population. J. Audiol Med 1:149–55.Google Scholar