The Journal of the American Academy of Audiology published the results of a new research by Dr Hashir Aazh and his collaborators about assessing whether the severity of tinnitus, as measured using ratings of tinnitus loudness, annoyance, and effect on life, was influenced by the lockdown related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The data for 105 consecutive patients who were seen at a tinnitus clinic in an audiology department in the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 lockdown between April and June 2020 and 123 patients seen in the same period of the previous year, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic were included. Demographic data for the patients, results of their pure-tone audiometry, and their score on visual analogue scale (VAS) of tinnitus loudness, annoyance, and effect on life were imported from their records held at the audiology department. This was a retrospective survey comparing ratings on the VAS of tinnitus loudness, annoyance, and effect on life for consecutive patients seen during the COVID-19 lockdown and consecutive patients seen in the same period of the previous year, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients seen prior to lockdown used a pen and paper version of the VAS, while the patients who were assessed during the COVID-19 lockdown used an adapted version of the VAS, via telephone. All patients were seeking help for their tinnitus for the first time. Results showed that the mean scores for tinnitus loudness, annoyance, and effect on life did not differ significantly for the groups seen prior to and during lockdown. Researchers concluded that any changes in psychological well-being or stress produced by the lockdown did not significantly affect ratings of the severity of tinnitus.