The International Tinnitus Journal

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The International Tinnitus Journal

Official Journal of the Neurootological and Equilibriometric Society
Official Journal of the Brazil Federal District Otorhinolaryngologist Society

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ISSN: 0946-5448


Insomnia in Tinnitus Patients: A Prospective Study Finding a Significant Relationship

Author(s): Gregory M. Asnis,Henderson MA,Sylvester, Thomas M,Kiran M, Richard De La G

Tinnitus is a highly prevalent medical disorder occurring in 10-30% of the general population. This disorder often becomes chronic and severe effecting quality of life contributing to significant psychiatric consequences; one that we have written about recently is comorbid insomnia. The latter can predispose effected persons to depressive episodes and a worsening of their total functioning. We have reported in the past that comorbid insomnia occurs in 10-80% of tinnitus patients with most reports finding over a 40% frequency. Unfortunately, these prior studies tended to evaluate only insomnia as a symptom and not as a diagnosis; therefore its seriousness and implications could not be assessed. Furthermore, most studies utilized only open-ended questionnaires with many being sent via the mail. Our study evaluated 72 tinnitus patients who were prospectively evaluated over the telephone for a tinnitus treatment study program at our center focusing on possible co-morbid insomnia symptoms as well as whether the insomnia satisfied a diagnosis with its accompanying dysfunctional state. The interview included questions regard a full range of questions assessing sleep onset, sleep continuity, early morning awakening, sleep duration as well as daytime consequences necessary for a diagnosis of insomnia. We found that not only were insomnia symptoms highly prevalent, but 60% of the tinnitus sample met strict diagnostic criteria (DSM-IV-TR) of insomnia secondary to a general medical condition, i.e., tinnitus. Alarmingly, only 4 % were being treated for their insomnia. In addition, our data suggests that tinnitus patients with co-morbid insomnia have a more severe form of tinnitus and thus, may need further care and treatment.

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