In a recent update, Apple Hearing Study shared preliminary insights on tinnitus, a condition characterized by the perception of sound that others do not hear. The study, conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University of Michigan, is one of the largest surveys on tinnitus to date.

The researchers reviewed data from over 160,000 participants who answered survey questions and completed app-based assessments to characterize their experience of tinnitus. The aim of this research is to improve understanding of tinnitus characteristics and inform future research on potential treatments.

Roughly 15 percent of our participants experience tinnitus daily,” said Rick Neitzel, the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s professor of environmental health sciences. “The trends that we’re learning through the Apple Hearing Study about people’s experience with tinnitus can help us better understand the groups most at risk, which can in turn help guide efforts to reduce the impacts associated with it.

The study found that 77.6 percent of participants have experienced tinnitus in their lives, with the prevalence of daily tinnitus increasing with age among many. Those ages 55 and up were 3x more likely to hear tinnitus daily compared to those 18-34 years old. Additionally, 2.7 percent more male participants reported experiencing daily tinnitus compared to females.

In terms of management, participants reported mainly trying three methods to ease their existing tinnitus: using noise machines (28 percent), listening to nature sounds (23.7 percent), and practicing meditation (12.2 percent). Less than 2.1 percent of participants chose cognitive and behavioral therapy to manage their tinnitus.

This study is a significant step towards advancing understanding of tinnitus, its potential causes, and the methods for managing tinnitus and their perceived effectiveness. The insights gained from this study will aid current scientific knowledge and ultimately improve the management of tinnitus.