Tinnitus and its risk factors in the Beaver Dam offspring study

Int J Audiol. 2011 May;50(5):313-20. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2010.551220. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


Objective: To assess the prevalence of tinnitus along with factors potentially associated with having tinnitus.

Design: Data were from the Beaver Dam Offspring Study, an epidemiological cohort study of aging.

Study sample: After a personal interview and audiometric examination, participants (n = 3267, ages 21-84 years) were classified as having tinnitus if in the past year they reported having tinnitus of at least moderate severity or that caused difficulty in falling asleep.

Results: The prevalence of tinnitus was 10.6%. In a multivariable logistic regression model adjusting for age and sex, the following factors were associated with having tinnitus: hearing impairment (Odds Ratio (OR) = 3.20), currently having a loud job (OR = 1.90), history of head injury (OR = 1.84), depressive symptoms (OR = 1.82), history of ear infection (men, OR = 1.75), history of target shooting (OR = 1.56), arthritis (OR = 1.46), and use of NSAID medications (OR = 1.33). For women, ever drinking alcohol in the past year was associated with a decreased risk of having tinnitus (OR = 0.56).

Conclusions: These results suggest that tinnitus is a common symptom in this cohort and may be associated with some modifiable risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Tinnitus / epidemiology*
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology
  • Young Adult