The Correlation of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory with Depression and Anxiety in Veterans with Tinnitus

Int J Otolaryngol. 2015;2015:689375. doi: 10.1155/2015/689375. Epub 2015 Nov 30.

Abstract

Objective. The mechanisms of tinnitus are known to alter neuronal circuits in the brainstem and cortex, which are common to several comorbid conditions. This study examines the relationship between tinnitus and anxiety/depression. Subjects and Methods. Ninety-one male veterans with subjective tinnitus were enrolled in a Veterans Affairs Tinnitus Clinic. The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) was used to assess tinnitus severity. ICD-9 codes for anxiety/depression were used to determine their prevalence. Pure tone averages (PTA) were used to assess hearing status. Results. Descriptive analyses revealed that 79.1% of the 91 tinnitus sufferers had a diagnosis of anxiety, 59.3% had depression, and 58.2% suffered from both anxiety/depression. Patients with anxiety had elevated total THI scores as compared to patients without anxiety (p < 0.05). Patients with anxiety or depression had significantly increased Functional and Emotional THI scores, but not Catastrophic THI score. Significant positive correlations were illustrated between the degree of tinnitus and anxiety/depression (p < 0.05). There were no differences in PTA among groups. Conclusions. A majority of patients with tinnitus exhibited anxiety and depression. These patients suffered more severe tinnitus than did patients without anxiety and depression. The data support the need for multidisciplinary intervention of veterans with tinnitus.