June 23, 2024
Apple Shares Preliminary Insights on Tinnitus From Hearing Study

Apple Shares Preliminary Insights on Tinnitus From Hearing Study

Posted May 28, 2024 at 3:35pm by iClarified
Apple has shared some preliminary insights on tinnitus from the Apple Hearing Study. Over 160,000 participants answered survey questions through the study and completed app-based assessments to characterize their experience of tinnitus. These responses were analyzed by the University of Michigan with aims to improve the understanding of tinnitus characteristics and inform future research on potential treatments.

"Roughly 15 percent of our participants experience tinnitus daily," said Rick Neitzel, University of Michigan School of Public Health's professor of environmental health sciences. "Tinnitus is something that can have a large impact on a person's life. The trends that we're learning through the Apple Hearing Study about people's experience with tinnitus can help us better understand the groups most at risk, which can in turn help guide efforts to reduce the impacts associated with it. The Apple Hearing Study gives us an opportunity that was not possible before to improve our understanding of tinnitus across demographics, aiding current scientific knowledge that can ultimately improve management of tinnitus."

Apple Shares Preliminary Insights on Tinnitus From Hearing Study

Tinnitus, or the perception of sound that others do not hear, can happen to many people in one or both ears. With tinnitus, the sounds can take many forms but are most commonly described as a ringing sound and can be momentary or occur over longer durations. The symptoms and experience of tinnitus can vary significantly from person to person and can change for an individual.
Tinnitus can impact a person's overall quality of life, for example, disrupting a person's sleep, concentration, or ability to hear clearly. A first step toward advancing understanding of tinnitus is to learn more about who experiences it, how the experience differs between people and within an individual over time, the potential causes, and the methods for managing tinnitus and their perceived effectiveness.

Here's a look at some of the study's findings...

Tinnitus Prevalence

The study found that 77.6 percent of participants have experienced tinnitus in their life, with the prevalence of daily tinnitus increasing with age among many. Those ages 55 and up were 3x more likely to hear tinnitus daily compared to those 18-34 years old. Additionally, 2.7 percent more male participants reported experiencing daily tinnitus compared to females. However, 4.8 percent more males stated they had never experienced tinnitus.

Apple Shares Preliminary Insights on Tinnitus From Hearing Study

Management of Tinnitus

In the Apple Hearing Study, participants reported mainly trying three methods to ease their existing tinnitus: using noise machines (28 percent), listening to nature sounds (23.7 percent), and practicing meditation (12.2 percent). Less than 2.1 percent of participants chose cognitive and behavioral therapy to manage their tinnitus.

Cause of Tinnitus

While there's no guaranteed method to prevent tinnitus given its complex causes, practicing hearing protection and managing stress levels can lower the chances of tinnitus. In the study, participants cited "noise trauma," or exposure to excessively high levels of noise, as the primary cause of tinnitus (20.3 percent), followed closely by stress (7.7 percent).

Characterizing Tinnitus

The majority of participants experience brief episodes of tinnitus, compared to 14.7 percent who reported constant tinnitus. The reported duration of tinnitus significantly increases with age among participants 55 and older: 35.8 percent of participants ages 55 and older constantly experience tinnitus. Male participants experience constant tinnitus nearly 6.8 percent more than females.

Apple Shares Preliminary Insights on Tinnitus From Hearing Study

As for tinnitus levels, the majority found it to be faint, with 34.4 percent calling it noticeable compared to 8.8 percent who found it very loud or ultra loud. Ten percent of participants reported that their tinnitus has moderately or entirely interfered with their ability to hear clearly.

Apple Shares Preliminary Insights on Tinnitus From Hearing Study

In addition to the survey questions, participants who experienced tinnitus also completed an app-based sound test to better characterize their experience of tinnitus, matching the type and quality of the sounds they experience.

The majority of participants described their tinnitus as either a pure tone (78.5 percent) or white noise (17.4 percent). Among those who described a pure tone, 90.8 percent reported a pitch at 4 kilohertz or above, similar to the tones in a songbird's call. Additionally, for those who described a pure tone, 83.5 percent identified their tinnitus as a single tone and 16.5 percent identified it as a teakettle tone — a high-pitched, whistling sound.

For participants who matched their tinnitus to a white noise, 57.7 percent identified it as a static tone, 21.7 percent compared it to a cricket tone, 11.2 percent said it was an electric tone, and 9.4 percent identified it as a pulse tone.

Apple Shares Preliminary Insights on Tinnitus From Hearing StudyApple Shares Preliminary Insights on Tinnitus From Hearing Study

How Apple Products Can Help
Apple also touted some of its features to help support hearing health.

● Noise app: With the Noise app, Apple Watch users can enable notifications for when environmental noise levels might affect their hearing health. The Health app on iPhone keeps track of a user's history of exposure to sound levels, and informs whether headphone audio levels or environmental sound levels have exceeded those recommended by World Health Organization standards.

● Environmental sound reduction: Apple Watch users can see when the environmental sound level is reduced while they are wearing AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.

● Active Noise Cancellation and Loud Sound Reduction mode: Active Noise Cancellation uses the microphone to detect external sounds, which AirPods Pro then counter with anti-noise, canceling the external sounds before a user hears them. For those looking to still enjoy surrounding sounds, Loud Sound Reduction with AirPods Pro (2nd generation) helps reduce loud noises while still keeping the fidelity of sound.

● Reduce loud audio: To set a headphone volume limit, users can go into Settings, then tap Sounds & Haptics (on iPhone 7 and later) or Sounds (for earlier models). They'll then tap Headphone Safety, where they can turn on Reduce Loud Audio and drag a slider to a preferred decibel level.

Apple Shares Preliminary Insights on Tinnitus From Hearing Study
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Xtoast - May 29, 2024 at 4:13am
Wish I could have been in this study, mine is constant but only really gets disturbing when I try to sleep
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