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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2015 Oct;272(10):2719-29. doi: 10.1007/s00405-014-3275-0. Epub 2014 Sep 5.

Clinical observations and risk factors for tinnitus in a Sicilian cohort.

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Dipartimento di Biomedicina Sperimentale e Neuroscienze Cliniche, (BioNeC), Sezione di Otorinolaringoiatria, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Via del Vespro, 129, 90127, Palermo, Italy,


The aims of this study were to determine the distribution of risk factors associated with tinnitus analysing their role in the development of tinnitus and the effects of their interaction; to evidence the importance of a suitable and adequate clinical and audiologic assessment to avoid those modifiable risk factors responsible for cochlear dysfunction and tinnitus onset. 46 subjects with tinnitus and 74 controls were studied according to: age, sex, Body Mass Index (BMI), neck circumference, tobacco smoking, feeling fatigue or headache, self reporting snoring, hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and/or hyperlipidemia, and laboratory finding as lipid profile and levels of reactive oxygen metabolites (d-ROM). Audiological assessment was performed by multi-frequency audiometry (PTA(0.5-16 kHz)) and transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAE diagnostic). Univariate analysis was performed to examine the association between determinants and occurrence of tinnitus; Mantel-Haenszel test (G.or) was used to investigate the joint effect of determinants on tinnitus. Tinnitus was more frequent among males with age >50 years; BMI >30 kg/m(2), neck circumference >40 cm, headache, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia resulted significant risk factors for tinnitus (P < 0.0001). Tinnitus group had more comorbidity (P < 0.0001) and worse audiometric thresholds (60.87 Vs 21.62% hearing loss; P < 0.0001) with respect to control group. The interaction between hypertension-BMI ≥ 30 kg/m(2) (G.or = 8.45) and smoking-hypercholesterolemia (G.or = 5.08) increases the risk of tinnitus (P < 0.0001). Our results underline that several factors either individually or jointly contribute to tinnitus onset; a comprehensive knowledge about tinnitus risk factors and associated clinical conditions could contribute to minimizing this disorder.

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