Published: 2021-01-25

The impact of occurrence of tinnitus in first degree relatives on the severity of disease among subjects

Mosanya T. J., Yusuf T., Daniel A., Ogundoyin O. A., Onakoya P. A., Adeosun A. A., AbdulWasiu-Idowu K. G., Yusuf B. O., Adeolu J. O., Adedeji W. A., Musa I., Ijitola J. O., Lasisi T. J., Akeem O. Lasisi


Background: The aetiology of tinnitus and the factors that contribute to the exacerbation from mild to severe tinnitus are poorly known. Particularly, a role of genetics has been proposed for tinnitus, although this has not been conclusive. In order to establish a possible role for heritability in our population, we explored the history of tinnitus among first degree family members of those suffering from tinnitus using cross-sectional community-based strategy.

Methods: There were 300 subjects with idiopathic tinnitus with mean (±SD) age of 51.88 (±15.11, range=19-80 years) comprising 169 males and 131 females.  

Results: Tinnitus was severe in 37.9% and bilateral in 65.1% while 26.6% reported having family members with history of tinnitus. TInnitus was significantly more severe (p<0.001) and more frequent (p<0.001); and the psychological distress related to tinnitus (p<0.001) measured by the mini-TQ was worse among those with family history compared to those without. Bivariate analysis reveals that the presence of tinnitus in other family members, occurrence of tinnitus for more than 3 months (p=0.003), increasing age (0.001) and higher mean mini-TQ scores (0.001) showed significant association with severity of tinnitus. Logistic regression reveals that presence of tinnitus in other family members increases the odds of frequency of tinnitus by 5.08 (95% CI=1.70-15.12), elevates the mean scores of the mini-TQ by 1.31 (95% CI=1.20-1.44) while increasing age greater than 50 years increases the odds of severity of disease by 2.81 (95%CI=1.59-4.94).

Conclusions: We conclude that the findings of significant correlation between presence of tinnitus in first degree relatives and severity of tinnitus among the subjects provides an empirical evidence to explore a possible genetic aetiology for severe tinnitus in our population.


Correlation, First degree relatives, Tinnitus

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