Background: Tinnitus can result from different etiologies. Frequently, patients report the development of tinnitus after traumatic injuries. However, to which extent this specific etiologic factor plays a role for the phenomenology of tinnitus is still incompletely understood. Additionally, it remains a matter of debate whether the etiology of tinnitus constitutes a relevant criterion for defining tinnitus subtypes. Objective: By investigating a worldwide sample of tinnitus patients derived from the Tinnitus Research Initiative (TRI) Database, we aimed to identify differences in demographic, clinical and audiological characteristics between tinnitus patients with and without preceding trauma. Materials: A total of 1,604 patients were investigated. Assessment included demographic data, tinnitus related clinical data, audiological data, the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory, the Tinnitus Questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory, various numeric tinnitus rating scales, and the World Health Organisation Quality of Life Scale (WHOQoL). Results: Our data clearly indicate differences between tinnitus patients with and without trauma at tinnitus onset. Patients suffering from trauma-associated tinnitus suffer from a higher mental burden than tinnitus patients presenting with phantom perceptions based on other or unknown etiologic factors. This is especially the case for patients with whiplash and head trauma. Patients with posttraumatic noise-related tinnitus experience more frequently hyperacousis, were younger, had longer tinnitus duration, and were more frequently of male gender. Conclusions: Trauma before tinnitus onset seems to represent a relevant criterion for subtypization of tinnitus. Patients with posttraumatic tinnitus may require specific diagnostic and therapeutic management. A more systematic and - at best - standardized assessment for hearing related sequelae of trauma is needed for a better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology and for developing more tailored treatment approaches as well.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)