Why Is Tinnitus a Problem? A Qualitative Analysis of Problems Reported by Tinnitus Patients

E.J. Watts, K. Fackrell, S. Smith, J. Sheldrake, H. Haider, D.J. Hoare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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Tinnitus is a prevalent complaint, and people with bothersome tinnitus can report any number of associated problems. Yet, to date, only a few studies, with different populations and relatively modest sample sizes, have qualitatively evaluated what those problems are. Our primary objective was to determine domains of tinnitus problem according to a large clinical data set. This was a retrospective analysis of anonymized clinical data from patients who attended a U.K. Tinnitus Treatment Center between 1989 and 2014. Content analysis was used to code and collate the responses of 678 patients to the clinical interview question “Why is tinnitus a problem?” into categories of problems (domains). We identified 18 distinct domains of tinnitus-associated problems. Reduced quality of life, tinnitus-related fear, and constant awareness were notably common problems. Clinicians need to be mindful of the numerous problem domains that might affect their tinnitus patients. Current questionnaires, as well as being measures of severity, are useful clinical tools for identifying problem domains that need further discussion and possibly measurement with additional questionnaires. The domains identified in this work should inform clinical assessment and the development of future clinical tinnitus questionnaire. © The Author(s) 2018.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2331216518812250
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • adult or general hearing screening
  • behavioral measures
  • psychosocial or emotional


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