Association of sleep terror, walking or talking and tinnitus

J Formos Med Assoc. 2021 Jan;120(1 Pt 1):145-149. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2020.03.014. Epub 2020 Apr 11.


Background/purpose: Sleep disturbances are associated with chronic tinnitus in humans. However, whether parasomnias are associated with chronic tinnitus is unclear. This study aims to investigate this issue.

Methods: Clinical data for 2907 subjects who had visited the Sleep Center of a community hospital in Taiwan during November 2011 to June 2017 were collected retrospectively. The association of chronic tinnitus with sleep terror, sleep walking, and sleep talking was analyzed using Pearson's Chi-Square test and multivariate logistic regression.

Results: The cohort age ranged from 7 to 91 years old, with a mean age of 49.8 years (standard deviation, 14.3 years). The cohort included 1937 patients without and 970 patients with chronic tinnitus. The percentage of patients who experienced sleep terror was significantly higher among those with tinnitus than those without (p < 0.001). The percentage of patients reporting sleep walking was slightly higher in subjects with tinnitus than in those without, with borderline significance (p = 0.063). The percentage of patients experiencing sleep talking did not differ significantly between the groups. Multivariate logistic regression also showed that sleep terror but not sleep walking was significantly associated with tinnitus after adjusting for age, sex, hearing loss, and insomnia. After adjusting for other factors, subgroup analysis by age showed that sleep terror was significantly positively associated with chronic tinnitus in patients aged 20-44 years but not in those aged 7-19 or >45 years.

Conclusion: Sleep terror is positively associated with chronic tinnitus, especially in young adults.

Keywords: Parasomnias; Sleep talking; Sleep terror; Sleep walking; Tinnitus.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Night Terrors*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Tinnitus* / epidemiology
  • Walking
  • Young Adult