Prevalence and Perception of Tinnitus Among Young Adults
Musselman, M. (2017) Prevalence and Perception of Tinnitus Among Young Adults, no. 134.
The research objectives of the study were to determine the prevalence of tinnitus in the young adult population, to compare and contrast differences between peoples' tinnitus, and to investigate the individual perceptions and attitudes. The young adult population sample included people between the ages of 18-30 years. Data was collected using a self-completed, online questionnaire. The survey was advertised on the Queen Margaret University Research Recruitment Digest, on Facebook, and by the British Tinnitus Association (BTA). Of the 189 participants, 67.7% (128 participants) have experienced tinnitus before. Descriptive statistics were used to define, characterise and highlight the diversity of the sample population in terms of age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, and self perceived hearing levels. Tinnitus perceptions relating to localisation, frequency of occurrence, nature of the sounds, and intensity were investigated. Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) scores were calculated and the frequency distribution exhibited a positively skewed histogram. SPSS software was used to perform the Kruskal-Wallis test, which evidenced no significant differences between THI scores and age. Finally, open-ended questions in the survey were analysed qualitatively using a phenomenological data analysis method. The following themes were prominent among participants' transcripts: Uncertainty, attention related to disability, and acceptance. In conclusion tinnitus was determined to be a highly prevalent condition among young adults. Although widespread, it is experienced uniquely between individuals in terms of auditory characteristics, psychological effects and personal reactions. The results from the study can be applied to the improvement of clinical practice and raising public awareness about tinnitus, particularly in the young adult generation.