Tinnitus has a global burden equivalent to that of migraine and common pain disorders, finds a meta-analysis which calls for a greater emphasis on research to improve the outcomes of people living with the debilitating condition.
The meta-analysis involving over 100 articles published between 1972 and 2021 found the pooled prevalence of any tinnitus among adults was 14.4%.
While prevalence estimates did not significantly differ by gender, they increased with age with 9.7% prevalence among adults aged 18-44 years; 13.7% among those aged 45-64 years and 23.6% among those aged 65 years.
Overall, the pooled prevalence of severe and chronic tinnitus was 2.3% and 9.8%.
Writing in JAMA Neurology the researchers said that the statistics inferred that globally more than 740 million people experience tinnitus and more than 120 million people worldwide have a severe form of tinnitus.
“Such estimates place tinnitus at an order of magnitude similar to the leading causes of years lived with disability, namely, hearing loss, followed by migraine, low back pain, and neck pain,” they wrote.
“Health authorities and research institutions, such as the Global Burden of Disease, should consider this prevalence and play a leading role in funding, ultimately to boost research on tinnitus and improve the care and the lives of patients with tinnitus,” they concluded.