Prevalence and characteristics of tinnitus in older adults: The Blue Mountains Hearing Study

Doungkamol Sindhusake, Paul Mitchell, Philip Newall, Maryanne Golding, Elena Rochtchina, George Rubin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    118 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    There have been few recent estimates of the prevalence of tinnitus from large population-based samples of older persons. Our study aimed to assess the prevalence and characteristics of prolonged tinnitus in a representative sample of 2015 adults aged 55-99 years, residing in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia, during 1997-99. All participants underwent a detailed hearing examination by an audiologist, including comprehensive questions about hearing. After age adjustment, subjects reporting tinnitus had significantly worse hearing at both lower and higher frequencies (p<0.001). This difference was more marked in younger than in older subjects (p<0.05). Overall, 602 subjects (30.3%) reported having experienced tinnitus, with 48% reporting symptoms in both ears. Tinnitus had been present for at least 6 years in 50% of cases, and most (55%) reported a gradual onset. Despite tinnitus being described as mildly to extremely annoying by 67%, only 37% had sought professional help, and only 6% had received any treatment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)289-294
    Number of pages6
    JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
    Volume42
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003

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