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Laryngoscope. 2012 Oct;122(10):2279-84. doi: 10.1002/lary.23482. Epub 2012 Aug 10.

Tinnitus in children: association with stress and trait anxiety.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul National University, Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea.



The aim of this study was to investigate associations between tinnitus and stress factors including anxiety in elementary school students.


Cross-sectional study.


We conducted a cross-sectional questionnaire survey in 940 students aged from 10 to 12 years. Data on 928 students were collected. The questionnaire comprised 96 questions that were classified into six categories: subjects' symptoms, stress factors, State Anxiety (transitory emotional condition characterized by feeling of tension and apprehension) Inventory for Children (SAIC), Trait Anxiety (general tendency to respond with anxiety to environmental threat) Inventory for Children (TAIC), visual analog scale of tinnitus, and Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI).


Four hundred thirty-five students (46.9%) had experienced tinnitus more than once, and 41 (4.4%) suffered from it continuously. Self-perception of hearing loss, dizziness, headache, and concerns about obesity had significant differences between tinnitus and nontinnitus groups, whereas other stress factors did not show any difference. TAIC scores showed statistically significant differences according to the frequency of tinnitus in children experiencing tinnitus, whereas SAIC scores did not. Annoyance, influence on daily life, disturbance of sleep, and study by tinnitus and THI scores showed significant differences according to the frequency of tinnitus.


The present study confirms that many children are aware of tinnitus and that they may be susceptible to stressful environments. In particular, trait anxiety may be associated with tinnitus. Because both tinnitus and anxiety can affect the daily lives and health of children-as with adults-a detailed strategy for the management of tinnitus in children should be established.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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