Author(s): Hallberg LR, Erlandsson SI
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Abstract The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics of tinnitus in 87 patients (mean age = 53.7 years); 43 patients seeking professional help (complainers) and 44 patients who do not seek help for their tinnitus (noncomplainers). 'Left-sided or mostly left-sided' tinnitus was reported by 42\% of complainers and 30\% of noncomplainers, whereas 'right-sided or mostly right-sided' tinnitus was equally prevalent in the two groups (26 v. 25\%); the differences between groups were not significant. Tinnitus 'in the head' was reported by 14\% of the complainers and 6\% of the noncomplainers, a nonsignificant difference, whereas noncomplainers perceived tinnitus in 'both ears equally' significantly more frequently than complainers. Complainers had significantly more often 'combined' (tonal plus buzzing) tinnitus sounds (51 v. 30\%) and 'non-fluctuating tinnitus' (49 v. 25\%) than had noncomplainers, whereas 'tonal' tinnitus was significantly more frequent in noncomplainers than in complainers (43 v. 16\%). Further, noncomplainers had worse hearing than complainers: pure-tone averages over vocal as well as high frequencies were significantly higher. Complainers scored significantly higher than noncomplainers on the psychological variables concentration difficulties, irritability and sleep disturbance. Patients with 'combined' tinnitus sounds scored significantly higher on irritability and sleep disturbance than subjects with 'tonal' tinnitus. Patients with 'non-fluctuating tinnitus' scored significantly higher on the three psychological variables than patients with 'fluctuating tinnitus'. A conclusion to be drawn is that 'combined' tinnitus sounds and 'non-fluctuating tinnitus' might be determinants of psychological problems.
This article was published in Br J Audiol
and referenced in Journal of Phonetics & Audiology