More than 740 million people worldwide suffer from some form of tinnitus

European researchers have discovered that more than 740 million people worldwide experience various forms of tinnitus, described as persistent “ringing in the ears” or other intrusive sounds. The findings are published in JAMA Neurology.

Understanding tinnitus

Tinnitus affects both older people and adults and is a neurological disorder. People with tinnitus seem to hear a constant ringing or other noises, even when there is no external sound. While in some people the condition occurs independently, in others it may be a sign of more serious underlying conditions.

Uncovering the scale and implications of tinnitus worldwide. Delve into its prevalence, causes, and health consequences...
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The scope of the study

A team of European medical experts conducted the first comprehensive global study of the prevalence of tinnitus. The researchers analysed 113 scientific papers that examined the prevalence of tinnitus in different countries from 1972 to 2021. They used this data to estimate the number of people affected worldwide.

Key findings

“Our systematic review of previous studies shows that tinnitus affects more than 740 million adults worldwide. Of these, 120 million consider the condition to be a serious health problem. This underscores the importance of including it in global health intervention strategies,” the researchers noted.

Chronic tinnitus was observed in 9.8% of all patients. The condition was slightly more common in men than in women, although the researchers believe the difference may not be statistically significant.

Age as a contributing factor

The data also confirmed that tinnitus was more common in older adults over the age of 65, with a prevalence rate of 23.6%. In contrast, only 13.7% of adults aged 18 to 44 reported the condition. This disparity suggests that age-related changes in the nervous system, auditory organs and skull bones may influence the onset of the condition.

The research team hopes that their findings will help WHO experts and national health authorities to strategise further research into this condition. This information will also help in the development of effective treatments for the effects of tinnitus.

Prepared by Mary Clair

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