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J Am Acad Audiol. 1994 Jan;5(1):37-43.

Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 1971-75: Part II. Tinnitus, subjective hearing loss, and well-being.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio 78284-7777.


The Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 1971-75 contains valuable information because it provides unbiased estimates of the state of hearing in the general population. Here, three facets of the subjective aspects of hearing loss are examined: frequent and bothersome tinnitus, ratings of hearing, and general well-being. The period prevalence of frequent, bothersome tinnitus varied with race and gender (13 to 17%) with higher rates among blacks and females. The mean air-conduction thresholds (0.5 to 4 kHz) of those reporting frequent and bothersome tinnitus did not exceed 32 dB HL. Mean audiograms associated with those who rated both ears good, fair, poor, or deaf were significantly different from each other. Mean poorer ear audiograms for those rating one ear as good were significantly better than those for comparable symmetrical ratings. Last, there was no clear, consistent relationship between audiometric thresholds and measures of well-being.

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