Tinnitus prevalence in the city of São Paulo

Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2015 Mar-Apr;81(2):167-76. doi: 10.1016/j.bjorl.2014.12.004. Epub 2014 Dec 27.


Introduction: The public and private health care in the city of São Paulo has no data on tinnitus prevalence.

Objective: Determine tinnitus prevalence in São Paulo city.

Study design: Series study.

Methods: Cross-sectional study by field questionnaire with 1960 interviews. Predictor variables included gender, age, tinnitus.

Results: The prevalence of tinnitus was 22%. It affects more women (26%) than men (17%) and increases with advancing age. Approximately one third of cases (32%) assert that they have constant tinnitus (i.e., "ringing"), while most describe intermittent tinnitus (68%). The majority (64%) reported feeling annoyed, while others (36%) denied any annoyance. Among women, the occurrence of an annoying tinnitus was significantly higher (73%) than among men (50%). The percentages were: mildly annoying (11%), moderately annoying (55%), and severely annoying (34%). Tinnitus interferes with daily activities in 18% of those reporting to be annoyed.

Conclusion: The population in the city of São Paulo suffering from tinnitus was more prevalent than previously estimated. Generally, it affects more women and those without occupation, and increases significantly with age. Most respondents described the tinnitus as annoying, and this was more prevalent in females. The degree of discomfort measured by a Visual Analogue Scale showed moderate tinnitus, with responses averaging 6.3.

Keywords: Epidemiologia; Epidemiology; Prevalence; Prevalência; Tinnitus; Zumbido.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cities / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tinnitus / classification
  • Tinnitus / diagnosis
  • Tinnitus / epidemiology*
  • Urban Population
  • Visual Analog Scale
  • Young Adult