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.