Tinnitus is a diverse condition that manifests in many forms; it can be acute or chronic, tonal or pulsatile, constant or irregular. As such, the impact and burden of tinnitus is relative to the individual patient’s experience. While the majority of people perceive tinnitus only as a mild distraction, still millions struggle with severe cases of tinnitus that significantly detract from their quality of life.

On the whole, tinnitus has huge negative costs, both in terms of human impact and economic impact. These costs are felt at the individual patient level and by the population at-large.

Tinnitus Impact on Humans

Tinnitus can be a debilitating condition, that negatively affects a patient’s overall health and social well-being. Even moderate cases can interfere with the ability to work and socialize. People with tinnitus often experience:

  • Distress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability or frustration
  • Poor concentration
  • Pain (particularly when tinnitus is accompanied by hyperacusis)

In 2014, ATA conducted a survey of its membership, to evaluate how ATA members experience tinnitus. Over 1,100 people responded to the survey, providing perspective on how the condition affects their lives. Results of several relevant survey questions are included below.