Risk Factors for Tinnitus in a Population of Older Adults: The Blue Mountains Hearing Study

Departments fo Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2145, Australia.
Ear and Hearing (Impact Factor: 2.84). 01/2004; 24(6):501-7. DOI: 10.1097/01.AUD.0000100204.08771.3D
Source: PubMed


To identify potential and modifiable risk factors for tinnitus in a population of older adults.
Cross-sectional study. Detailed questionnaires were interviewer-administered in a representative sample of 2015 persons aged 55+ yr, living in an area west of Sydney, Australia. Air- and bone-conduction audiometric thresholds were measured from 250 to 8000 Hz and from 500 to 4000 Hz, respectively. TEOAE and SOAE were measured for both ears.
After adjusting for multiple variables in a Cox proportional hazards model, factors that significantly increased the risk of tinnitus were poorer hearing and cochlear function, self-reported work-related noise exposure, and history of middle ear or sinus infections, severe neck injury or migraine.
Interventions aimed at reducing age-related hearing loss, particularly by reducing excessive work-related noise exposure, and the effective, timely treatment of ear-related infections, may all decrease the risk of tinnitus.

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    • "Tinnitus is the perception of an auditory object in the absence of an acoustic event (Searchfield, 2014) and is a common experience following hearing loss (Sindhusake et al., 2003). It is considered to be the result of maladaptive plasticity in central auditory pathways following changes in input from the periphery (Roberts et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Tinnitus, head and ear noise, is due to maladaptive plastic changes in auditory and associated neural networks. Tinnitus has been traditionally managed through the use of sound to passively mask or facilitate habituation to tinnitus, a process that may take 6-12 months. A game-based perceptual training method, requiring localization and selective attention to sounds, was developed and customized to the individual's tinnitus perception. Eight participants tested the games usability at home. Each participant successfully completed 30minutes of training, for 20 days, along with daily psychoacoustic assessment of tinnitus pitch and loudness. The training period and intensity of training appears sufficient to reduce tinnitus handicap. The training approach used may be a viable alternative to frequency discrimination based training for treating tinnitus (Hoare et al., 2014) and a useful tool in exploring learning mechanisms in the auditory system. Integration of tinnitus assessment with therapy in a game is feasible, and the method(s) warrant further investigation. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Journal of Neuroscience Methods 04/2015; 249. DOI:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2015.04.002 · 2.05 Impact Factor
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    • "In a study of risk factors for tinnitus in a population 55 years and older Sindhusake et al[5] described a number of extrinsic and health factors that could be linked to tinnitus. The factor with the largest attributable risk was self-reported work-related noise exposure (almost 14%). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the investigation was to study if dysfunctions associated to the cochlea or its regulatory system can be found, and possibly explain hearing problems in subjects with normal or near-normal audiograms. The design was a prospective study of subjects recruited from the general population. The included subjects were persons with auditory problems who had normal, or near-normal, pure tone hearing thresholds, who could be included in one of three subgroups: teachers, Education; people working with music, Music; and people with moderate or negligible noise exposure, Other. A fourth group included people with poorer pure tone hearing thresholds and a history of severe occupational noise, Industry. Ntotal = 193. The following hearing tests were used: − pure tone audiometry with Békésy technique, − transient evoked otoacoustic emissions and distortion product otoacoustic emissions, without and with contralateral noise; − psychoacoustical modulation transfer function, − forward masking, − speech recognition in noise, − tinnitus matching. A questionnaire about occupations, noise exposure, stress/anxiety, muscular problems, medication, and heredity, was addressed to the participants. Forward masking results were significantly worse for Education and Industry than for the other groups, possibly associated to the inner hair cell area. Forward masking results were significantly correlated to louder matched tinnitus. For many subjects speech recognition in noise, left ear, did not increase in a normal way when the listening level was increased. Subjects hypersensitive to loud sound had significantly better speech recognition in noise at the lower test level than subjects not hypersensitive. Self-reported stress/anxiety was similar for all groups. In conclusion, hearing dysfunctions were found in subjects with tinnitus and other auditory problems, combined with normal or near-normal pure tone thresholds. The teachers, mostly regarded as a group exposed to noise below risk levels, had dysfunctions almost identical to those of the more exposed Industry group.
    PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e97377. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0097377 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Often, but not always, tinnitus is associated with a certain measure of hearing loss mostly of the upper part of the range of hearing (Henry et al., 1999). Hearing loss represents the most prevalent risk factor for tinnitus (Sindhusake et al., 2003; Moller, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: In tinnitus, several brain regions seem to be structurally altered, including the medial partition of Heschl's gyrus (mHG), the site of the primary auditory cortex. The mHG is smaller in tinnitus patients than in healthy controls. The corpus callosum (CC) is the main interhemispheric commissure of the brain connecting the auditory areas of the left and the right hemisphere. Here, we investigate whether tinnitus status is associated with CC volume. Methods: The midsagittal cross-sectional area of the CC was examined in tinnitus patients and healthy controls in which an examination of the mHG had been carried out earlier. The CC was extracted and segmented into subregions which were defined according to the most common CC morphometry schemes introduced by Witelson (1989) and Hofer and Frahm (2006). Results: For both CC segmentation schemes, the CC posterior midbody was smaller in male patients than in male healthy controls and the isthmus, the anterior midbody, and the genou were larger in female patients than in female controls. With CC size normalized relative to mHG volume, the normalized CC splenium was larger in male patients than male controls and the normalized CC splenium, the isthmus and the genou were larger in female patients than female controls. Normalized CC segment size expresses callosal interconnectivity relative to auditory cortex volume. Conclusion: It may be argued that the predominant function of the CC is excitatory. The stronger callosal interconnectivity in tinnitus patients, compared to healthy controls, may facilitate the emergence and maintenance of a positive feedback loop between tinnitus generators located in the two hemispheres.
    Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 03/2012; 6(article 17):17. DOI:10.3389/fnsys.2012.00017
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