Tinnitus and Its Effect on the Quality of Life of Sufferers: A Nigerian Cohort Study

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Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the quality of life of patients with ongoing tinnitus.

Study Design

This was a cross-sectional study of patients with ongoing tinnitus.

Setting

The study was carried out in a tertiary hospital in southeastern Nigeria.

Subjects and Methods

Subjects are adults who presented to the otorhinolaryngology clinic with tinnitus as their primary complaint. Pure-tone audiometry, tinnitus pitch, and loudness matching were done. The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) questionnaire was used in assessing their quality of life.

Results

There were 63 participants within the age range of 16 to 74 years; 20 (31.7%) were male and 43 (68.3%) were female. The mean duration of tinnitus was 26.7 ± 38.1 months. Nineteen (30.2%) participants had bilateral tinnitus while 44 (69.8%) had unilateral tinnitus. The mean THI score was 36.6 ± 19.7. The most reported handicap was anxiety and difficulty with concentration followed by depression and irritability. There was no correlation between the disability shown by the THI score and the age, sex, duration of the tinnitus, the tinnitus pitch, tinnitus loudness, or the laterality of the tinnitus. There was a significant positive correlation between the grade of hearing loss and the level of disability reported in the THI (P = .01).

Conclusion

Tinnitus sufferers appear to have poorer quality of life compared with nonsufferers. This quality-of-life affectation is likely to be worse in those with disabling hearing loss but does not appear to be related to their age, sex, symptom duration, or the loudness and pitch of their tinnitus.

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