OBJECTIVE: We conducted a retrospective review of medical records of tinnitus patients at a tertiary ENT clinic in Groningen, Netherlands. Our goal was to identify factors that differentiated the intermittent subgroup from the larger continuous group with chronic tinnitus.
DESIGN: Tinnitus-related factors such as hearing loss, emotional aspects, and demographics were used to advance our understanding of the subgroups. We analysed the data using descriptive statistics and binomial logistic regression, supplemented by random forests classification.
STUDY SAMPLE: Patients presenting with tinnitus visiting the tinnitus clinic. We examined 1575 medical intake records obtained at a tertiary ENT hospital.
RESULTS: Duration, total Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), and THI Functional subscale scores differed significantly between the two groups. Increasing age and higher THI Emotional subscale scores were associated with an increased likelihood of intermittent tinnitus. Increases in duration, depressive scores and THI Functional and Catastrophic subscale scores, decreased the likelihood of intermittent tinnitus.
CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study dissociate the factors affecting those with intermittent and those with continuous tinnitus and point to potentially different mechanisms underlying the two conditions.