A study on the epidemiology of tinnitus in the United Kingdom
Received 24 April 2019
Accepted for publication 10 July 2019
Published 13 September 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 855—871
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewer comments 3
Editor who approved publication: Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen
Nadja A Stohler,1,2 Daphne Reinau,1,2 Susan S Jick,3,4 Daniel Bodmer,5 Christoph R Meier1–3
1Basel Pharmacoepidemiology Unit, Division of Clinical Pharmacy and Epidemiology, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 2Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 3Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program, Lexington, MA, USA; 4Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA; 5Department of Biomedicine and Clinic for Otorhinolaryngology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Correspondence: Christoph R Meier
Basel Pharmacoepidemiology Unit, Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital Basel, Spitalstrasse 26, Basel 4031, Switzerland
Tel +41 61 556 5369
Fax +41 61 265 8875
Purpose: Subjective tinnitus is a common symptom with potentially negative impact on quality of life. More research is required to gain a deeper understanding of the disease and its clinical presentation. To estimate the incidence of tinnitus and to describe patient-related characteristics such as lifestyle factors and comorbidities.
Patients and methods: Using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, we calculated incidence rates of first-time diagnosed tinnitus in an adult population between 2000 and 2016. We stratified incidence rates by sex, age, and year of diagnosis. Additionally, we performed a 1:1 matched case-control study comparing body mass index, lifestyle factors and selected comorbidities between patients with incident tinnitus and tinnitus-free controls.
Results: We identified 109 783 adults with a first-time diagnosis of tinnitus between 2000 and 2016, yielding an overall age-standardized incidence rate of 25.0 new tinnitus cases per 10,000 person-years (95% CI: 24.6–25.5). There was a steady increase in tinnitus incidence throughout the study period. Approximately 80% of tinnitus cases were diagnosed at age 40 years or older. We observed the highest incidence rate in individuals aged 60–69 years (41.2 per 10,000 person-years, 95% CI: 40.7–41.7). Smokers and alcohol drinkers were at lower risk of being diagnosed with tinnitus compared with non-smokers and non-drinkers, respectively. The occurrence of tinnitus was strongly associated with a recent diagnosis of several otological and vestibular disorders as well as head and neck disorders.
Conclusion: The present observational study found an increasing incidence of tinnitus over time, emphasizing the continuously growing health burden. The findings on patient characteristics, lifestyle factors, and selected comorbidities contribute to a better understanding of risk factors for tinnitus.
Keywords: case-control study, clinical practice research datalink, lifestyle factors, incidence rates, tinnitus
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