Objective: To investigate the effects of COVID-19 on individuals with tinnitus and their views to guide future tinnitus care.
Design: A mixed-methods cross-sectional research design.
Study sample: An online survey was completed by 365 individuals with tinnitus from Australia and other countries.
Results: Tinnitus was reported to be more bothersome during the pandemic by 36% of respondents, whereas 59% reported no change and 5% reported less bothersome tinnitus. Nearly half of the respondents had received COVID-19 vaccination(s) and 12% of them reported more bothersome tinnitus while 2% developed tinnitus post-vaccination. Australian respondents spent less time in self-isolation or quarantine and saw fewer change in in-person social contact than respondents from other countries. More than 70% of respondents thought that tinnitus care services were insufficient both before and during the pandemic. Regarding their opinions on how to improve tinnitus care in the future, five themes including alleviation of condition, government policies, reduced barriers, self- and public-awareness, and hearing devices were identified.
Conclusions: A majority of respondents did not perceive any change in tinnitus perception and one-third of respondents had worsened tinnitus during the pandemic. To improve tinnitus care, better awareness and more accessible resources and management are crucial.
- tinnitus care