Gender differences affecting psychiatric distress and tinnitus severity
Tae Sun Han 1, Jo-Eun Jeong 1, Shi-Nae Park 2, Jung Jin Kim 1*
1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, 2Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea
Received: May 19, 2018; Revised: July 29, 2018; Accepted: July 31, 2018; Published online: July 31, 2018.
© The Korean College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved.

Objective This study evaluated gender differences in the relationship between psychiatric distress and subjective tinnitus severity.
Study design: This cross-sectional study included 134 female and 114 male patients who visited the otology outpatient clinic at Seoul-St. Mary’s Hospital for tinnitus from February to July 2015. Patients completed a series of instruments, including the Tinnitus Handicap Index, Beck Depression Inventory, Brief Encounter Psychosocial Instrument–Korean version, and visual analogue scales assessing various tinnitus characteristics (loudness, awareness, annoyance, and effect on life).
Results: Tinnitus severity did not significantly differ between the gender groups (p=0.632), and it correlated significantly with tinnitus characteristics and psychiatric distress. Partial correlations between tinnitus severity and depressive symptoms were stronger in males (r=0.411, p<0.01) than in females (r=0.304, p<0.01) while controlling for duration of tinnitus and tinnitus characteristics. However, stress (Brief Encounter Psychosocial Instrument–Korean version) was positively correlated with tinnitus severity in only males (r=0.463, p<0.01). A multiple regression analysis revealed that effect of tinnitus on life, depressive symptoms, and stress were significantly associated with tinnitus severity in males, whereas only tinnitus annoyance and depressive symptoms were associated with tinnitus severity in females.
Conclusion: Tinnitus severity was significantly correlated with depressive symptoms and stress, and there were gender differences in the relationship between tinnitus severity and psychiatric components. It is necessary to be vigilant of psychiatric symptoms among patients with tinnitus who visit the otology outpatient clinic, especially for male patients.
Key words: tinnitus, depression, stress, gender
Keywords: tinnitus, stress, depression, gender