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Tinnitus and Mental Distress (Reavis et al., 2020)

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posted on 22.07.2020 by Kelly Reavis, James Henry, Lynn M. Marshall, Kathleen F. Carlson
Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the
relationship between tinnitus and self-reported mental health
distress, namely, depression symptoms and perceived
anxiety, in adults who participated in the National Health
and Nutrition Examinations Survey between 2009 and
2012. A secondary aim was to determine if a history of
serving in the military modified the associations between
tinnitus and mental health distress.
Method: This was a cross-sectional study design of a
national data set that included 5,550 U.S. community-dwelling adults ages 20 years and older, 12.7% of whom
were military Veterans. Bivariable and multivariable logistic
regression was used to estimate the association between
tinnitus and mental health distress. All measures were
based on self-report. Tinnitus and perceived anxiety were
each assessed using a single question. Depression symptoms were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire, a validated questionnaire. Multivariable regression models were adjusted for key demographic and health factors, including self-reported hearing ability.
Results: Prevalence of tinnitus was 15%. Compared to
adults without tinnitus, adults with tinnitus had a 1.8-fold
increase in depression symptoms and a 1.5-fold increase in
perceived anxiety after adjusting for potential confounders.
Military Veteran status did not modify these observed
associations.
Conclusions: Findings revealed an association between
tinnitus and both depression symptoms and perceived
anxiety, independent of potential confounders, among both
Veterans and non-Veterans. These results suggest, on a
population level, that individuals with tinnitus have a greater
burden of perceived mental health distress and may benefit
from interdisciplinary health care, self-help, and community-based interventions.

Reavis, K. M., Henry J. A., Marshall, L. M., & Carlson, K. F. (2020). Prevalence of self-reported depression
symptoms and perceived anxiety among community-dwelling U.S. adults reporting tinnitus. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_PERSP-19-00178

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