A review of the current state of knowledge on tinnitus in relation to noise exposure and hearing loss

This report details the results of a search of the published peer-reviewed
literature investigating the relationship between tinnitus (ringing or buzzing
in the ears), noise exposure at work and noise-induced hearing loss. A total of
12 citation databases (earliest date 1951) were searched which identified 252
publications, of which 34 were found to be relevant to the review.

A number of studies have reported the prevalence of tinnitus in populations
exposed to noise at work to be between 87.5% and 5.9%. Factors such as the type
of participant (e.g. health surveillance, compensation claimant), the
characteristics of the noise exposure and the definition of tinnitus used may
contribute to this variability. Furthermore, four studies have shown that the
prevalence of tinnitus in workers exposed to noise at work is significantly
greater than in workers not exposed to noise.

The majority of the published papers support the idea that there is an
association between tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss. The prevalence of
tinnitus in those with hearing loss appears to be greater, and the hearing
thresholds in those with tinnitus are higher. There is also a suggestion from
one 15-year longitudinal study that tinnitus may be an early indicator of risk
of the development of noise-induced hearing loss.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety
Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions
expressed, are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE

Download the full report from this page - Source: Health and Safety Executive (HSE)