B4470 - Tinnitus and depression in children young adults and the role of religion/spiritual beliefs and behaviours - 05/12/2023

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Amanda Hall | Aston University
Nadia Donald, Professor Jean Golding, Yaz Iles-Caven, Dr Dan Green
Title of project: 
Tinnitus and depression in children & young adults, and the role of religion/spiritual beliefs and behaviours
Proposal summary: 

Tinnitus is defined as a sound in the head or ears that occurs in the absence of any external acoustic source and while there is no single agreed-upon definition of tinnitus, it is estimated to affect between 5.1% to 42.7 % of the population, with a higher prevalence in men than women. Most people habituate to tinnitus, however, in some individuals it has a significant impact on their quality of life and causes debilitating problems such as depression, anxiety, frustration and insomnia. Current research suggests a strong association between tinnitus, psychiatric symptoms and psychological distress. Severe tinnitus can lead to distressing catastrophic thoughts, and although suicide is rare, suicidal thoughts are common amongst severe sufferers.

Tinnitus is also a common experience in children and prevalence rates are reported to be similar to the adult population. Insomnia, listening and attention difficulties are the main psychological factors associated with tinnitus in children. However, little is known about the psychological impact of tinnitus in children, yet emerging studies in this field have identified anxiety and depression as problematic emotional response to tinnitus. Furthermore, there has been limited research on how tinnitus manifests in children, and addressing this knowledge gap is crucial in understanding and predicting the relationship between tinnitus and psychological disorders presenting in adulthood, as children develop into adults with or without tinnitus. Therefore, there is a need for further studies to define the life course of tinnitus from childhood to adulthood in order to gain a better understanding of the role early tinnitus and psychological disorders play in the development of tinnitus severity and distress in to adulthood.

Religious and spiritual beliefs and behaviours (RSBB) may provide mechanisms by which people are able to cope with stress or provide a source of social and emotional support. Recent data supports that RSBB can have a positive influence on adults living with sensory impairment, both hearing and vision loss. For children, longitudinal data indicates that RSBB can support psychological adjustment. These data suggest that children in families with RSBB may be at lower risk of psychological disorders if they experience tinnitus.

Impact of research: 
Increase understanding of the generation of severe tinnitus, which has potential to improve clinical interventions Further understanding of how religious & spiritual beliefs and behaviours do or do not interact with health conditions
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 22 November, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 1 December, 2023
Epidemiology, Tinnitus & mental health, Statistical methods, ENT - hearing