Original Research

A survey exploring awareness and experience of tinnitus in young adults

Vedika Bagwandin, Lavanithum Joseph
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 64, No 1 | a545 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v64i1.545 | © 2017 Vedika Bagwandin, Lavanithum Joseph | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 January 2017 | Published: 17 November 2017

About the author(s)

Vedika Bagwandin, Discipline of Audiology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Lavanithum Joseph, Discipline of Audiology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Hearing loss among young adults is on the increase largely because of greater exposure to recreational noise. One of the effects of a sensorineural hearing loss is tinnitus. Despite efforts to raise awareness of hearing loss and tinnitus, young adults continue to expose themselves to the potential risks. The reasons for this are unclear; neither is the extent to which tinnitus is experienced in this population.

Objectives: The study aimed to describe the awareness and experience of tinnitus among young adults, with regard to its existence, causes, effects and management.

Methods: A descriptive study design was employed using an electronic survey that targeted students within a selected school at a university in KwaZulu-Natal. There were 75 participants between 18 years and 30 years. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. To raise awareness about tinnitus, on completion of the questionnaire, all participants were given access to an information document about tinnitus, its causes and management.

Results: The majority of participants (69.86%) were not aware of the existence of tinnitus. Thus, most of the participants did not know about the causes or effects of tinnitus. Tinnitus was experienced by 13.51% of participants themselves and 12.16% knew someone who suffered from it.

Conclusions: The general lack of awareness of what tinnitus was, its causes and effects, has implications for audiologists who are involved in hearing health care across the age span. Hearing health promotion programmes targeted at young adults should include information on hearing loss as well as tinnitus and its management.


Keywords

tinnitus; young adults; awareness; experience

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