A new study reports that at least one in 10 American adults experiences a ringing sensation in their ears, and the cause might be the noise they have in their daily lives, Reuters reports.
Dr. Harrison Lin from the University of California, Irvine, says that those who have the aggravating condition, known as tinnitus, are not alone. Lin adds that several studies have pointed to “noise exposure as a probable contributor to tinnitus.” Tinnitus can cause hearing impairment if persistent and not addressed.
The researchers studied data from the 2007 Integrated Health Interview Series in order to better gauge how common tinnitus is in the USA.
Out of the 75,764 participants in the survey, 9.6% had reported experiencing tinnitus within the past 12 months.
When that number is expanded, it suggests that 21.4 million adults had tinnitus last year alone, the researchers say.
Around 27% of those with tinnitus in the study have had the condition for over 15 years. More than one-third of the respondents reported having nearly consistent symptoms. About 7% said that their tinnitus were big or very big problems for them, while some 42% said that they were small problems.
The researchers also found that people exposed to loud noises in their workplace or during recreational activities were more likely to experience the ringing sensation.
Around half of those with tinnitus said they had discussed the problem with doctors. The most frequent prescription was for medications, followed by hearing aids. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, a treatment for tinnitus endorsed by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, was discussed by only 0.2% of the doctors consulted.
CBT, a type of psychotherapy, has been found to be effective in treating sleep, concentration and emotional difficulties due to tinnitus, the study says.
Lin suggests that people with tinnitus should talk to their doctors first, then consider CBT if their symptoms worsen.
The study was published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.