What is the association between childhood hearing disorders and adult tinnitus?

This article discusses a post or paper titled "Association Between Childhood Hearing Disorders and Tinnitus in Adulthood" published by Lisa Aarhus, MD; Bo Engdahl, PhD; Kristian Tambs, PhD; et al on the JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery website on November 5, 2015.

What is the article about?

The association between childhood hearing disorders and adult tinnitus has not been examined in longitudinal cohort studies. To determine the association between different types of childhood hearing loss and tinnitus in adulthood and evaluate whether tinnitus risk is mediated by adult hearing loss.


Why is this information important for you?

This information is vital for understanding the long-term implications of childhood hearing disorders on adult hearing health. It can guide healthcare providers in monitoring and managing children with hearing issues to mitigate the risk of tinnitus in adulthood. By identifying specific childhood conditions that increase the risk of adult tinnitus, clinicians can develop targeted interventions to prevent or reduce the severity of tinnitus later in life.


What are the main take-aways?

  • Association with Childhood Hearing Disorders: Adults who had certain childhood hearing disorders, including sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), chronic suppurative otitis media, and recurrent acute otitis media, reported higher incidences of tinnitus compared to those with normal childhood hearing.
  • Mediation by Adult Hearing Loss: The increased risk of adult tinnitus associated with these childhood hearing disorders is mediated by adult hearing loss. When adult hearing thresholds were considered, the direct association between childhood hearing disorders and adult tinnitus was no longer significant.
  • Implications for Long-Term Hearing Health: These findings suggest that childhood hearing disorders can have lasting effects that contribute to hearing loss and tinnitus in adulthood. This underscores the importance of early detection, management, and potential preventive measures for children with hearing issues to improve their long-term hearing outcomes.
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