Neuropsychological Correlates and Frequency of Tinnitus in Patients Injured in Motor Vehicle Accidents


  •   Zack Z. Cernovsky

  •   Stephan C. Mann

  •   Varadaraj R. Velamoor


Background: There is a lack of data on the frequency and neuropsychological correlates of tinnitus in distinct clinical populations such as persons injured in high impact motor vehicle accidents (MVAs).

Method: Tinnitus severity and frequency were analyzed statistically in de-identified data of 106 post-MVA patients (mean age=39.5, SD=13.1; 31 males and 75 females). Correlations of tinnitus to the patients’ scores on the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire, Subjective Neuropsychological Symptoms Scale (SNPSS), Brief Pain Inventory, Insomnia Severity Index, PTSD measure (PCL-5), and to ratings of depression, anger, and anxiety on the Whiplash Disability Questionnaire were evaluated. The patients were interviewed an average of 53.6weeks (SD=39.9) after their MVA; all continued to suffer from post-MVA symptoms requiring therapy.

Results: Tinnitus was reported by 70 of the 106 post-MVA patients (66%). Slightly less than a half of the 70 rated their tinnitus as “frequent” or “persistent” and slightly more than a half as “occasional.”

With respect to Rivermead and SNPSS items, the severity and frequency of tinnitus correlated significantly (at p<.01, 2-tailed) with oversensitivity to light, restlessness, word finding difficulty, hand tremor, stutter, and instances of reduced muscular control over hand or arm (rs ranging from .28 to .37). Tinnitus severity correlated also with tingling in the limbs (r=.31), and with impaired balance (r=.28). Tinnitus frequency correlated also with difficulty articulating words (r=.28). Tinnitus also significantly correlated with ratings of pain and of insomnia (rs ranging from .26 to .32), but not with variables such as PTSD, depression, or anxiety.

Discussion and Conclusions: Tinnitus is correlated with some aspects of whiplash trauma and the post-concussion syndrome. However, the size of these relationships is rather weak.

Keywords: tinnitus, post-concussion syndrome, whiplash syndrome, neuropsychology


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How to Cite
Cernovsky, Z. Z., Mann, S. C., & Velamoor, V. R. (2021). Neuropsychological Correlates and Frequency of Tinnitus in Patients Injured in Motor Vehicle Accidents. European Journal of Medical and Health Science, 3(2), 103-106.