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How Quality of Life is Affected by Tinnitus

a woman with her hand to her ear

For many people living with tinnitus, the condition can harm quality of life. Around 13% of people, for instance, report that tinnitus leads to anxiety, and 18% say that they have sleep problems. 

Tinnitus, however, doesn’t reduce the quality of life in all people who have it. Around 34% of people say that it is annoying, but that it does not significantly impact their daily life. 

Poor concentration

Not only is this ringing in your ears annoying, but it can also lead to poor concentration. Unwanted sounds coming through the ears can make it difficult for students to focus on their education or workers on their work. Around 16% of people say that their tinnitus gives them trouble concentrating, and two percent say that they are unable to work because of it. 


Because tinnitus is an ongoing, chronic condition, many people worry that they will have it for the rest of their lives. As the condition progresses, it can become more challenging to manage, leading some people to neglect their social life. Depression, therefore, is a common consequence of the condition, affecting around one in fifteen people. 

Mood swings

Researchers think that hearing loss might lead to tinnitus. A lack of sound stimulation coming through the ears provokes the brain to create noises with no external cause. These noises are usually whirring, ringing, or humming sounds that persist for extended periods throughout the day that can affect mood. 

Most people would feel a little cranky if they had to listen to an alarm or a siren all day, so it should come as no surprise that tinnitus results in mood swings. While most people can put up with unpleasant sounds for a few minutes, the majority can’t for long periods without it affecting the way they feel. Mood swings, therefore, are frequent for people with tinnitus. The constant sounds generated by the ear eventually become irritating, and a source of frustration, especially if they get in the way of regular daily activities, like holding a conversation. 

Difficulty sleeping

Some people with tinnitus can experience sleep problems, such as insomnia, as a result of their condition. It’s easy to become hyper-focused on the noises coming from the ear, putting the rest of the brain into a state of alertness that makes rest more challenging. 


Some people who have tinnitus can also experience pain. Those whose symptoms are accompanied by hyperacusis can experience a significant toll on their quality of life. 

Difficulty communicating with others

People with tinnitus often struggle to communicate. The condition can make it more challenging to perceive others in the environment, leading to feelings of being cut off or isolated. 

This difficulty communicating with others is one of the reasons why so many people with tinnitus have depression. When you feel that you cannot surround yourself with others, it can be challenging to remain positive and happy about your life. 


Tinnitus can be a source of anxiety for many people. You never know when it might strike next.  

Persistency tinnitus can also create additional anxiety. You may wonder if the ringing in your ears will ever go away or if it is something that you must deal with for the rest of your life. 

Feelings of distress

Having to listen to sounds all day that have no external cause can be a distressing experience. Tinnitus imposes noises on people, which they can’t get away from. Feeling that you do not have any control over the sounds that you hear can adversely affect your outlook on life and lead to acute episodes of panic and fear. 

Unable to work

In extreme cases, tinnitus can affect a person’s ability to function to such a great extent that they can no longer go to work. Tinnitus, therefore, can lead to lost earnings, missing out on promotions and dismissal. 

Social isolation

Tinnitus can increase the risk of social isolation. People with the condition who cannot hear what others are saying may find it easier to remove themselves from social situations altogether. 

Fortunately, there are several ways to manage tinnitus and improve quality of life. Hearing aids, for instance, can reduce symptoms while improving hearing. 

If you would like to speak to a hearing instrument specialist about wearing hearing aids, call Palmetto Hearing Healthcare Center in Summerville at 843-571-0744 or Charleston at 866-571-0744.

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