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Journal of Epidemiology
Vol. 20 (2010) No. 4 P 271-276

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http://doi.org/10.2188/jea.JE20090121

Original Article

Background: The prevalence of tinnitus is reported to be high in older Western populations, and several risk factors have been suggested. However, community-based evidence on prevalence is limited and, to our knowledge, there is no such information from older non-Western populations. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and factors associated with tinnitus in community-dwelling Japanese elders.
Methods: In this community-based cross-sectional study, 1320 residents of Kurabuchi Town aged 65 years or older (584 men and 736 women; participation proportion = 98.7%) were interviewed at home in 2006, and information on tinnitus and factors associated with tinnitus was collected. We estimated the prevalence of tinnitus by age group and sex and used a logistic regression model to investigate associated factors.
Results: The prevalence of tinnitus was 18.6% (men: 18.0%; women: 19.0%); there were no statistically significant differences by age group or sex. Hearing difficulty, depressive mood, prescribed medication, past/current history of coronary heart disease, and knee joint pain requiring medical consultation were associated with tinnitus.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that tinnitus is common in Japanese aged over 65 years. Because the factors associated with tinnitus in this cross-sectional study are potentially modifiable, they should be thoroughly investigated in a longitudinal study.

Copyright © 2010 by the Japan Epidemiological Association

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