Tinnitus: How Many People Experience Ringing In The Ears?

More people actually suffer from tinnitus than expected, with 14% of adults experience hearing the ringing sound in their ears, according to a new study. 

Published in the research journal JAMA Neurology, the study found that about 120 million people, mostly adults 65 and above, have tinnitus — an earn condition characterized by hearing sounds in the ears or the head without an external source.

Scientists used about 50 years of data for the recently published study. They estimated that about 14% of adults have the perplexing condition, and 2% suffer the severe form of tinnitus. 

“This systematic review and meta-analysis estimated that the annual incidence of tinnitus is approximately 1%, with 14% of adults experiencing any tinnitus and 2% experiencing a severe form of it. The prevalence of tinnitus did not differ by sex, but increased prevalence was associated with increasing age, with any tinnitus being present in 10% of young adults, 14% of middle-aged adults, and 24% of older adults,” the researchers wrote. 

Tinnitus has many causes, but Mayo Clinic said the condition is mostly triggered by age-related hearing loss. An ear injury or a problem with the circulatory system could also lead to this condition. 

The phantom noises heard by sufferers are not limited to ringing. Other sounds include buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing and humming. The noise may also vary in pitch from a low sound to a high squeal. 

The findings of the new study align with earlier estimates presented by the American Tinnitus Association, which said nearly 15% of people suffer the condition. In the U.S., about 10% of adults, or nearly 25 million people, have experienced tinnitus in the past year, as per the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

“This study suggests that the global burden of tinnitus is large, similar to migraine and pain, and the lack of effective treatment options justifies a major investment in research in this area,” the researchers noted in the new study. 

“Our estimates indicate that, globally, one in seven adults report having experienced tinnitus,” lead author Carlotta Micaela Jarach, an epidemiologist at the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, Italy, said

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