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Nearly 15% of Adults Worldwide Experience Tinnitus Symptoms

Researchers have lacked a clear indicator of how widespread the disorder is globally.
More than 740 million adults worldwide have had at least one symptom of tinnitus, and about 120 million are severely affected, according to a new report.
Tinnitus indicates the perception of a ringing, buzzing, whistling, rustling, or hissing noise in the ears or head when no corresponding external sounds are present. In its most severe form, which is associated with hearing loss, tinnitus can affect a patient’s mental, emotional, and social health.
Researchers have lacked a clear indicator of how widespread the disorder is globally, as well as of who suffers the most serious symptoms.
“Our estimates indicate that, worldwide, 1 in 7 adults reported experiencing tinnitus,” says Carlotta MicaelaJarach, study author and an epidemiologist at the Mario Negri Pharmacological Research Institute in Milan, Italy.
“Severe tinnitus has been found in about 2% of the population,” she says.
The study was published in JAMA Neurology on August 8.
Association With Age
Jarach and colleagues from several European universities conducted a wide-ranging review of past international research to estimate the global prevalence and incidence of tinnitus, severe tinnitus, chronic tinnitus, and diagnosed tinnitus.
They looked at research published in 767 publications, then focused on prevalence and incidence estimates from 95 of the studies.
Pooling the data from all those studies, the research team calculated that the prevalence estimate of any tinnitus among adults was 14.4%; The prevalence did not differ significantly by sex; it was about 14.1% among men and 13.1% among women.
But the prevalence differed by age, with an estimate of about 13.6% among children and teensAmong adults, the prevalence increased with age, starting around 9.7% for ages 18 to 44 years and rising to 13.7% among ages 45 to 64 years, and 23.6% among ages 65 years and older.
The prevalence in adults appeared to differ significantly by continent, ranging from 5.2% in Africa to about 14% in Europe and North America and 21.9% in South America.