Epidemiology of Clinically Significant Tinnitus: A 10-Year Trend from Nationwide Health Claims Data in South Korea

Hyun Min Lee, Kyung Do Han, Soo Keun Kong, Eui Cheol Nam, Shi Nae Park, Hyun Joon Shim, Jae Yong Byun, Hong Ju Park, Gi Jung Im, Il Woo Lee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: Prevalence of tinnitus has been reported to vary according to the target population and definition of tinnitus. To improve the understanding of tinnitus, authors used the nation-wide health claim data to study the tinnitus in the entire population of South Korea. Study Design: Retrospective big data review. Setting: Analysis of big data from the National Health Information Database. Patients: Patients diagnosed with tinnitus according to International Classification of Diseases code 10th edition (ICD-10) and requested to receive National Health Insurance claim at least once from January 2006 to December 2015. Intervention: None. Main Outcome Measure: Epidemiologic data, association of tinnitus with the otologic and systemic diseases. Results: The number of patients who received medical care because of tinnitus was 1.44% (0.78 million per 51 million) in 2015. There was a higher prevalence of tinnitus in women, and the overall prevalence increased with increasing age of patients and peaked at patients in their 70s (4.43%). The prevalence of tinnitus among patients aged 10 to 30 years, showed a tendency to increase during study period. In the regional analysis, highest prevalence was observed in Gwangju (2.02%). In comparison with the control group, the patients with tinnitus showed a higher frequency in otologic and systemic disease. Especially, noise induced hearing loss (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 82.1, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 74.8-90.2) and sudden sensorineueal hearing loss (AOR = 49.7, 95% CI = 48.4-51.0) showed high frequency in tinnitus patient group. Conclusions: The prevalence and incidence of tinnitus in this study for entire nation were lower than previously reported studies. These results have limitation because the study only covered patient using the medical service for tinnitus and missed tinnitus sufferers not seeking medical service. However, this study is meaningful in that it was targeting entire nation, reflected the characteristics of clinically significant tinnitus patient enough to visit medical service.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)680-687
    Number of pages8
    JournalOtology and Neurotology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 1

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Il-Woo Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Geumo-ro 20, Mulgeum-eup. Yangsan, Gyeong-nam 50612, Republic of Korea; E-mail: entgate@gmail.com Source of Funding: This work was supported by grants from the Korean Society of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 2016. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2018 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.


    • Associated disease
    • Claims data
    • Epidemiology
    • South Korea
    • Tinnitus

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Otorhinolaryngology
    • Sensory Systems
    • Clinical Neurology


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