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Scand Audiol. 1991;20(3):165-71.

Tinnitus in old age.

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  • 1Department of Audiology, Sahlgrenska Sjukhuset, Göteborg, Sweden.


From the gerontological and geriatric study of 70-year-olds in Göteborg, Sweden, 674 persons were selected to participate in an investigation of tinnitus in old age. The subjects belonged to two cohorts, one of which was followed longitudinally at ages 75 and 79. Some 8-15% of the participants had continuous tinnitus and 20-42% occasional tinnitus. The prevalence of tinnitus was about the same for men as for women. There were significant correlations between tinnitus and exposure to occupational noise. Men with continuous tinnitus had, on average, been exposed to noise for 20-30 years, in contrast to men without tinnitus who had noise exposure of 11-15 years, on average. Those with continuous tinnitus had poorer pure-tone thresholds than those without tinnitus or with occasional tinnitus. Noise-induced hearing loss is an important etiological factor, especially for old men, but other types of hearing losses such as presbyacusis, Ménière's disease, otosclerosis and chronic otitis media also contribute to tinnitus.

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