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October 2021

Psychological aspects of tinnitus: A comparison with hearing loss and ear, nose and throat disorders

Author(s): Stein, M. J.

Journal/Book: Psychol Health. 1999; 14: C/O Stbs Ltd, PO Box 90, Reading, Berks, England Rg1 8Jl. Harwood Acad Publ Gmbh. 711-718.

Abstract: It is well established that tinnitus is sometimes associated with marked psychological distress, including anxiety and depression. As yet, however, it is unclear whether the problems are specific to tinnitus or may occur in other hearing disorders too. A total of 95 patients with tinnitus were compared with 73 people with hearing loss but no tinnitus, and with a further 80 people attending an out-patient clinic for a variety of other ear, nose and throat (ENT) problems. The principal measures were the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. The tinnitus patients were significantly more anxious, depressed, and neurotic than the hearing loss group, but were equivalent to the ENT group; and, like the hearing loss group, they were significantly less extraverted than the ENT controls. There were no differences between tinnitus patients with severe hearing loss, mild hearing loss, and no hearing loss. Results from Hallam's Short Tinnitus Questionnaire revealed that tinnitus patients without hearing loss reported significantly fewer difficulties with auditory perception than either of the other tinnitus groups, and significantly fewer irrational beliefs than the group with severe hearing loss. It is concluded that patients with tinnitus were more distressed than people with hearing loss, but that their distress was shared by patients with a variety of other ENT problems. People who reported the greatest problems with their tinnitus were generally those who also had severe hearing loss.

Note: Article Rutter DR, Univ Kent, Dept Psychol, Ctr Res Hlth Behav, Canterbury CT2 7NP, Kent, ENGLAND

Keyword(s): tinnitus; hearing loss; ENT controls; anxiety; depression; neuroticism; HOSPITAL ANXIETY; DEPRESSION; DISTURBANCE; DISABILITY; SUFFERERS; DISTRESS; CANCER; SCALE

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