Tinnitus in adults is just as common as tinnitus in children. There are two types of tinnitus: Objective tinnitus and subjective tinnitus. Objective tinnitus can be heard by an examiner and typically occurs from blood flow or muscle movement. The most common type of tinnitus is subjective tinnitus, where the sound is only heard by the person who has tinnitus. About 10% of the general population have subjective tinnitus while the subjective tinnitus in adults over the age of 50 is as many as 30%. When tinnitus in adults lasts for three months or more, it is considered chronic.

What Increases the Risk of Tinnitus in Adults?

Aging is a natural process that could bring about hearing loss, which is a common cause of tinnitus in adults; however, adults may be at a higher risk of developing tinnitus if they have a history of smoking (which could lead to a higher risk of hearing loss), experience high levels of stress (adults experience higher levels of stress than children which increases the severity and risk of tinnitus), consume large amounts of alcohol, or encounter consistent noise exposure at their workplace. There are also some conditions that are linked to the development of tinnitus in adults. Those who have a history of the following can increase the risk of developing tinnitus in adults: 

  • Asthma – Asthma could have an impact on your hearing and lead to the development of tinnitus.
  • Depression – There is a connection between tinnitus and depression. Those diagnosed with depression can see it worsen with tinnitus as tinnitus is known to escalate it. Stress and anxiety can also increase the risk and severity of tinnitus, two factors that are seen in depression.
  • Hyperlipidemia – In hyperlipidemia, your blood has too many lipids (fats), such as triglycerides and cholesterol. Those who are diagnosed with hyperlipidemia who follow a low fat/low cholesterol diet can help reduce their blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which in turn can reduce their tinnitus symptoms.
  • Thyroid Disease – Thyroid health affects every cell in the body, with hyperthyroidism (thyroid produces too much thyroxine hormone) and hypothyroidism (does not produce enough of the thyroxine hormone) being linked to hearing loss – overall affecting hearing loss, tinnitus, and your balance).
  • Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis occurs when your protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. Osteoarthritis causes a higher risk of developing middle ear abnormalities and hearing loss – resulting in tinnitus.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – A symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is worsening hearing loss, which can put you at a higher risk of developing tinnitus.

To see a more complex list of other causes of tinnitus, please see our article on tinnitus causes.

Severity of Tinnitus in Adults

Tinnitus in adults is usually worse than the tinnitus in children. The rate of discomfort from tinnitus is rated highest in the elderly as the phantom noise of tinnitus is found to be louder in patients who are over 40 and tinnitus being rated as catastrophic for those over 60. As we age, our bodies may also have a more difficult time adjusting to the changes of tinnitus. In addition, those who might have experienced tinnitus at a younger age without receiving treatment can have their tinnitus worsen with age since the body was never able to repair or heal the cause of it when they were younger. 

No matter the severity of tinnitus in adults, their body will experience a slower healing process in their tinnitus treatment than children with tinnitus due to their age. Ratings of normal, mild, borderline, moderate, and severe tinnitus are all more common for those ages 40 and above – with the most severe frequency affecting those who are between the ages of 40-60 years old. Because the body heals slower as it matures, it is best to seek a beneficial treatment that can help correct the cause of tinnitus as soon as tinnitus symptoms are noticed.

Tinnitus and Everyday Life for Adults

Tinnitus in adults shows a clear impact on how tinnitus affects an adult’s quality of life. Tinnitus affects a patient more so in terms of stress levels and physical pain, and not so mentally or emotionally. In a study about tinnitus and how it differs among age groups, patients above the age of 40 years had more complaints about the loudness and annoyance of tinnitus as well as having higher stress and severity scores. Tinnitus was also noted to be louder in patients who were above the age of 40 years. What kind of impact does this have on their day to day lives?

As a parent, it could take away time from your children or spouse and increase stress on the entire family. As irritation arises from having tinnitus, communication is not always easy due to the increased levels of stress tinnitus brings about which can change up your behavior and the phantom noises can get in the way of speaking or hearing clearly. 

When it comes to work, tinnitus can interrupt your focus and get in the way of thinking clearly – making your job even more stressful. If your job is constantly around loud noises, it is the perfect setup for making your tinnitus worse. About 23 percent of adults keep their tinnitus to themselves, fearing it could negatively affect their future employment opportunities. Other adults with tinnitus felt that their employers or co-workers were incapable of understanding tinnitus. This often makes them feel alone and stress about their performance when compared to other workers and there have been reports of tinnitus becoming so uncomfortable that sufferers have left their jobs.

As adults, we have more responsibilities to handle and tinnitus in adults can stop one from being productive and moving forward. A dysfunction in an adult’s life can cause a dysfunction in many other aspects such as family, career, and relationships that may greatly change and affect their quality of life. If you or a loved one is suffering from tinnitus, it may be time to consider an all-natural chiropractic treatment for tinnitus as it has been shown to be extremely beneficial for improving and eliminating tinnitus in adults.