Publications by authors named "Joy Onozuka"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Coping With Tinnitus During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Am J Audiol 2021 Jun 12;30(2):385-393. Epub 2021 May 12.

Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX.

Purpose The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted normal operations of health care services, broad sectors of the economy, and the ability to socialize freely. For those with tinnitus, such changes can be factors in exacerbating tinnitus. The purpose of this study was to determine tinnitus help-seeking behavior, which resources individuals utilized to cope during the pandemic, and what additional support is desired. Method An exploratory cross-sectional study design including 1,522 adults with tinnitus living in North America (Canada and the United States) was used. Data were collected through an online survey distributed by the American Tinnitus Association via e-mail. Free text from open-ended questions was analyzed using the automated content analysis. The responses to the structured questionnaire were analyzed using descriptive and nonparametric statistics. Results Significantly less tinnitus support was sought during the pandemic, and very few respondents utilized tinnitus support networks during the pandemic at the time the survey was conducted. Nonetheless, seeking support during the pandemic was significantly associated with significantly less tinnitus distress. The most frequently utilized resources for coping during the pandemic were contacting family and friends, spending time outdoors or in nature, relaxation, and exercise. Such tools for coping were associated with significantly less tinnitus distress. The support requested and advice provided by participants to health care services had overlap. The main support needs related to managing tinnitus included addressing hearing loss, providing peer support, finding cures, and accessing trained and understanding health care providers to help. The advice for professionals related to tinnitus management included the need for cures, personalized support, addressing hearing loss, targeting the tinnitus percept, and providing more information about the condition. Conclusions These findings provide suggestions on how to better support those with tinnitus at a time when health care is undergoing rapid changes. Findings can be used by stakeholders, clinical practitioners, and tinnitus support services to devise ways to work more effectively together to improve access to patient-driven, suitable, accessible, and evidence-based support. Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.14558514.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1044/2021_AJA-20-00188DOI Listing
June 2021

Changes in Tinnitus Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Front Public Health 2020 5;8:592878. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX, United States.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted delivery of healthcare, economic activity, and affected social interactions. Identifying and supporting those most affected by the pandemic is required. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the pandemic on individuals with tinnitus and to identify mediating factors. This is a mixed-methods exploratory cross-sectional study, using data collected via an online survey from 3,103 individuals with tinnitus from 48 countries. The greatest representation was from North America (49%) and Europe (47%) and other countries were only marginally represented. Although the study was aimed at those with pre-existing tinnitus, 7 individuals reported having COVID-19 initiated tinnitus. Having COVID-19 symptoms exacerbated tinnitus in 40% of respondents, made no change in 54%, and improved tinnitus in 6%. Other mediating factors such as the social and emotional consequences of the pandemic made pre-existing tinnitus more bothersome for 32% of the respondents, particularly for females and younger adults, better for 1%, and caused no change to tinnitus for 67%. Pre-existing tinnitus was significantly exacerbated for those self-isolating, experiencing loneliness, sleeping poorly, and with reduced levels of exercise. Increased depression, anxiety, irritability, and financial worries further significantly contributed to tinnitus being more bothersome during the pandemic period. These findings have implications for tinnitus management, because they highlight the diverse response both internal and external factors have on tinnitus levels. Clinical services should be mindful that tinnitus may be caused by contracting COVID-19 and pre-existing tinnitus may be exacerbated, although in the majority of respondents there was no change. Additional support should be offered where tinnitus severity has increased due to the health, social, and/or emotional effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tinnitus may be more bothersome for those experiencing loneliness, having fewer social interactions, and who are more anxious or worried.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.592878DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7676491PMC
May 2021