J Am Acad Audiol 2021; 32(09): 562-566
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1731733
Research Article

Self-Reported Tinnitus Severity Prior to and During the COVID-19 Lockdown in the United Kingdom

1   Department of Audiology, Royal Surrey County Hospital, Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, Guildford, United Kingdom
2   Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida
3   Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge Hearing Group, Cambridge, United Kingdom
› Author Affiliations


Background and Purpose The aim of this study was to assess 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.

Research Design This was a retrospective study.

Study Sample 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.

Data Collection Demographic data for the patients, results of their pure-tone audiometry, and their score on visual analog 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 The mean scores for tinnitus loudness, annoyance, and effect on life did not differ significantly for the groups seen prior to and during lockdown.

Conclusion Any changes in psychological well-being or stress produced by the lockdown did not significantly affect ratings of the severity of tinnitus.


Any mention of a product, service, or procedure in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology does not constitute an endorsement of the product, service, or procedure by the American Academy of Audiology.

Publication History

Received: 09 February 2021

Accepted: 30 May 2021

Article published online:
17 February 2022

© 2022. American Academy of Audiology. This article is published by Thieme.

Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.
333 Seventh Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10001, USA

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