The pooled prevalence of any tinnitus is 14.4 percent, according to a review published online Aug. 8 in JAMA Neurology.
Carlotta M. Jarach, from the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan, Italy, and colleagues conducted an umbrella review followed by a traditional systematic review to provide frequency estimates of tinnitus worldwide. A total of 113 eligible articles published between 1972 and 2021 were identified, and prevalence and incidence estimates from 83 and 12 articles were extracted, respectively.
The researchers found that among adults, the pooled prevalence of any tinnitus was 14.4 percent and varied from 4.1 to 37.2 percent. There was no significant difference observed in prevalence estimates by sex (14.1 percent among males and 13.1 percent among females), but prevalence increased with age (9.7, 13.7, and 23.6 percent among adults aged 18 to 44, 45 to 64, and 65 years and older, respectively). The pooled prevalence of severe tinnitus was 2.3 percent (varying from 0.5 to 12.6 percent), while the pooled prevalence of chronic tinnitus was 9.8 percent.
“Generalizing our estimates to the whole global population, one can infer that more than 740 million people experience tinnitus and more than 120 million people worldwide have a severe form of tinnitus,” the authors write. “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.”
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