Objectives: Tinnitus is a common symptom in adults and is more common after 50 years of age. In many cases, tinnitus is associated with psychological and psychosomatic problems caused by emotional and cognitive dysfunction, in addition to classical symptoms. Patients with depressive and anxiety disorder were reported to be at high risk for the development of severe tinnitus. However, childhood trauma is also reported to be a risk factor for depressive and anxiety disorders. The role of childhood traumas in the development of psychiatric symptoms is clear. This causality requires investigation of childhood traumatic experiences in individuals with tinnitus. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between childhood traumatic experiences, tinnitus, and depression and anxiety symptoms. In addition, the patient group with tinnitus symptoms and the control group consisting of healthy individuals were compared in the context of related parameters.
Material and methods: One hundred and two patients who had complaints of tinnitus for more than six months and 90 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35 were included in the study. The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) were filled in by both the study and the control groups. The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) was performed only in the tinnitus study group.
Results: The findings showed significant differences between the two groups. The study demonstrated that patients with tinnitus had significantly higher depression and anxiety scores than those healthy controls. However, in the group with tinnitus, childhood emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional neglect, and physical neglect scores were significantly higher than in the healthy group. When the group with tinnitus was evaluated within itself, there was a statistically significant positive correlation between THI and physical abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, BDI, and BAI. Patients with tinnitus had more family history of migration and early parental loss and lower income status than the control group.
Conclusion: These findings may indicate the presence of a causal relationship between tinnitus and its severity and childhood traumatic experiences. Childhood traumatic experiences may have made individuals prone to developing tinnitus, depression, and anxiety. In our study, patients with tinnitus had more family history of migration and early parental loss and lower income status than the control group. These factors may have exposed individuals in the patient group to more traumatic experiences. Trauma-oriented psychotherapies may be useful for patients with tinnitus to process trauma memories, manage trauma-related symptoms, and deal with depression and anxiety symptoms.
Tinnitus, Childhood Traumatic Experiences, Depression, Anxiety