Volume 21 (2011) Issue 4 Pages 299-304
Background: Several studies have reported the prevalence of tinnitus among general populations; however, most of these studies were conducted in Europe or the United States. We estimated the prevalence of tinnitus among the general adult population in Japan.
Methods: The subjects were participants in the Takayama Study, a population-based cohort study. In 2002, a total of 14 423 adults (6450 men and 7973 women) aged 45 to 79 years responded to a self-administered questionnaire that inquired about history of tinnitus, which was defined as episodes lasting longer than 5 minutes, excluding those occurring immediately after noise exposure. Respondents were also asked about the loudness and severity of tinnitus.
Results: Overall, 11.9% of the subjects reported having tinnitus; the percentage was somewhat higher among men (13.2%) than women (10.8%). The prevalence of tinnitus increased with age in both sexes. Approximately 0.4% of the overall population reported that tinnitus had a severe effect on their ability to lead a normal life. Medical history of hypertension or ischemic heart diseases, use of steroid or antihypertensive medication, and employment as a factory worker or machine operator were associated with tinnitus status in both men and women.
Conclusions: Tinnitus is relatively common in Japan. Although the use of various definitions of tinnitus in different studies makes it difficult to compare prevalence among populations, the present prevalence estimate was similar to those in studies in Europe and the United States.