Young adults' awareness and experience of tinnitus : a survey of a sample of students at a University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Bagwandin, Vedika Vimaldev Premdutt.
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The focus of this study was the awareness and experience of tinnitus in young adults. Historically, most literature focused on tinnitus in the older population group. However, recent studies have revealed that tinnitus has become more prevalent in young adults. This has resulted in an increased interest and need for research regarding tinnitus in this young age group. Current studies have raised awareness that young adults are at risk of acquiring tinnitus because of their exposure to causes such as excessive noise. However, despite this risk young adults seem to still continue in risk-taking behaviours because of social norms and the lack of awareness of tinnitus. Thus the aim of this study was to describe young adults’ awareness and experience of tinnitus with regards to their awareness of the existence, causes, effects and management of tinnitus. A descriptive study design was employed. A purposive sampling method was used. The study sample consisted of 75 university students who volunteered to take part in the study. Participant’s age range was between 18 and 30 years. Participants were required to complete an online survey, developed by the researcher, which they accessed from the university notice system. The results obtained revealed that the majority (69.23%) of participants were not aware of tinnitus. Most of the participants did not know about the causes or effects of tinnitus. Only a few participants experienced tinnitus; 10 (13.89%) participants experienced it themselves and 9 (12.50%) participants knew someone who suffered from tinnitus. The majority of the participants requested further information about tinnitus. These results have implications for health care professionals who need to be aware of the rising prevalence of tinnitus in the young adult population. This will impact on the manner in which audiologists approach young adults with regards to assessment and management. Awareness programmes about the association of noise to tinnitus, and its implications should be fostered through promotion programmes.