Nearly 15% of adults in the EU have tinnitus, according to a survey. This means that 65 million in the EU live with tinnitus.

A survey has found that tinnitus is quite common among adults in the EU.

The European Tinnitus Survey (ETS) was conducted in 12 European Union nations in 2017-2018 and included Bulgaria, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain.

The survey found that the prevalence of tinnitus in the EU was 14.7%, ranging from 8.7% in Ireland to 28.3% in Bulgaria. This means that more than 1 in 7 adults in the EU have tinnitus.

6.0% of the participants in the survey reported bothersome tinnitus ranging from 3.4% in Ireland to 11.5% in Bulgaria.

Severe tinnitus was found in 1.2% of participants ranging from 0.6% in Ireland to 4.2% in Romania.

Sex, age and hearing loss

Tinnitus was more common among women than men. 15.2% of the women and 14% of the men in the survey reported tinnitus.

The prevalence of tinnitus significantly increased with increasing age and the degree of hearing loss.

When extrapolated to the overall population, the researchers behind the survey found that approximately 65 million adults in EU (including the UK) have tinnitus, 26 million have bothersome tinnitus and 4 million have severe tinnitus.

The 12 countries

The prevalence of tinnitus in the 12 different countries in the survey was:

  • Bulgaria: 28.3%
  • England: 13.3%
  • France: 14.1%
  • Germany: 11.9%
  • Greece: 16.1%
  • Ireland: 8.7%
  • Italy: 13.7%
  • Latvia: 20.3%
  • Poland: 16.5%
  • Portugal: 16.2%
  • Romania: 21.1%
  • Spain: 15.5%

About the survey

The survey used a standardised set of tinnitus-related questions and response options in country-specific languages.
11,427 adults aged 18 years or older participated in the survey.

The article, “Tinnitus prevalence in Europe: a multi-country cross sectional population study”, was published in The Lancet.

Sources: and The Lancet

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