Background and Aim: Few comprehensive epidemiological studies of the prevalence of tinnitus have been undertaken, and none has been carried out in Egypt. A community-based survey was conducted in the Assiut Governorate to estimate the prevalence of tinnitus, its associations with psychiatric disorders and its effect on the quality of life. Material and Methods: The study involved 8,484 subjects, 5,783 (68.2%) from the rural community and 2,701 (31.8%) from the urban community. Patients were identified from a door-to-door survey and evaluated using a semistructured questionnaire, the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory and the Hamilton Anxiety and Depression Scales. Results: Four hundred and thirty-nine patients with tinnitus were found, giving a prevalence of 5.17 tinnitus cases/100 inhabitants. Males and females were equally affected. The highest age-specific prevalence rate was recorded among subjects above 60 years (17.66%) and was significantly higher among urban than rural inhabitants (6.3 vs. 4.6%) and among illiterate than among educated persons (10.15 vs. 3.07%). A majority of patients (53.3%) had some hearing loss; otitis media was common. Only 15.2% of cases were classified as having severe to catastrophic tinnitus. Nearly two thirds had a degree of depression. There were significant correlations between the severity of tinnitus and the degree of hearing loss, temporomandibular joint pain and the Hamilton depression score. Sleep disturbance was reported by 39.4% of subjects. Life enjoyment was severely affected in 15% of tinnitus patients. Conclusion: Tinnitus is a common problem in our locality, especially in older adults, and is associated with some modifiable risk factors.
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