Interesting Study – Neuroticism and Tinnitus
The hearing sensitivity and psychological profile of 18 young subjects with tinnitus and normal hearing were investigated by pure-tone and high-frequency audiometry, notched-noise tests, auditory-brainstem responses, evoked otoacoustic emissions and Crown-Crisp experiential index. Psychoacoustical and brainstem tests were comparable to those of 19 normally hearing subjects without tinnitus. Otoacoustic emissions were worse in ears of tinnitus subjects. Neurotic personality traits were stronger in the tinnitus subjects. These traits may be secondary to otological dysfunction, or may contribute to complaint behaviour.
There is a documented association between anxiety and depression and tinnitus. Anxiety (basically a construct related to neuroticism as a personality trait) is linked here to the incidence of tinnitus. It is unclear at this point whether or not anxiety in tinnitus subjects is a downstream effect of the tinnitus, or if people with anxiety have brains that are more susceptible to developing tinnitus (perhaps because of some deficiencies in inhibitory signalling in the brain). It could be that both explanations are possible.