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The Apple Hearing Study shares preliminary findings from tinnitus research

Data from the Apple Hearing Study

Apple and researchers from the University of Michigan have shared preliminary results from the huge Apple Hearing Study which has more than 160,000 participants. Apple said that the study aims to improve the understanding of tinnitus characteristics and inform future research and treatments.

For those who don’t know, tinnitus can be described as a ringing in the ear that only you can hear. One of the main causes of this affliction is damage from loud noises, that’s why your mobile phone tries to stop you from turning up the volume too much.

Commenting on the benefits of the Apple Hearing Study, Rick Neitzel, University of Michigan School of Public Health’s professor of environmental health sciences, said:

“Roughly 15 percent of our participants experience tinnitus daily. Tinnitus is something that can have a large impact on a person’s life. 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 Apple Hearing Study gives us an opportunity that was not possible before to improve our understanding of tinnitus across demographics, aiding current scientific knowledge that can ultimately improve management of tinnitus.”

According to the findings, the duration that people are affected by tinnitus seems to significantly increase with age, especially those over 55. The study found that 35.8% of participants aged 55 or over constantly experience tinnitus, with men being more likely (6.8%) to experience constant tinnitus.

Compared to those aged 18 to 34, the 55+ respondents were three times more likely to hear tinnitus daily. Regarding the levels of tinnitus, the majority of people said that the sound was faint, 34.4% said it was noticeable, and 8.8% said it was very loud or ultra loud. Ten percent of participants said that tinnitus has moderately or entirely interfered with their ability to hear properly.

Apple said that the data from this study is going to be shared with the World Health Organization so that it can contribute to the Make Listening Safe initiative. It also said there are features in Apple products that can help to prevent tinnitus including the Noise app for Apple Watch users who can monitor environmental noise levels, Active Noise Cancellation and Loud Sound Reduction mode with AirPods to cancel external sounds before they can be heard, and the option to set headphone volume limits in the Settings apps on iOS.

For those who do experience tinnitus, it’s best to talk to a doctor to find out what treatments could work for you. Hopefully, the results from this study can go some way in helping to find new treatments for those with tinnitus as it seems quite problematic for people whose lives are severely impacted by it.

Source: Apple

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