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Factors associated with tinnitus have mainly been studied cross-sectionally. Tinnitus is associated with hearing loss, noise exposure, ototoxic medication, head and neck trauma, smoking and depression and anxiety. Only a few studies exist that report on risk factors for developing tinnitus. Pre-existing risk factors shown to be associated with the development of tinnitus are hearing loss, temporomandibular joint disorders, dizziness, middle ear infections, history of head and neck injury, history of migraines, otosclerosis, history of smoking, high cholesterol, chronic kidney disease, arthritis and no/low caffeine intake. The study looked to identify risk factors that are longitudinally associated with the odds of developing tinnitus five years later (new onset tinnitus) and to identify factors that are cross-sectionally associated with tinnitus annoyance. Baseline, five-year, and 10-year follow-up data of participants in the Netherlands Longitudinal Study on Hearing (NL-SH) were used. The NL-SH is a web-based prospective cohort study, which started in 2006 and includes both normal hearing and hearing-impaired adults aged 18 to 70 years at baseline. A total of 734 participants without tinnitus at baseline were included, from which 137 participants reported to suffer from new-onset tinnitus five or 10 years later. Higher levels of somatisation and a history of smoking were found to be risk factors for new onset tinnitus five years later. Anxiety and poor speech recognition ability in noise were associated with higher degrees of tinnitus annoyance in new-onset tinnitus.

Factors Associated With the Development of Tinnitus and With the Degree of Annoyance Caused by Newly Developed Tinnitus.
Goderie T, van Wier M, Lissenberg-Witte B, et al.
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Clair Saxby

University Hospital Plymouth, UK.

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