Physical Activity, Tinnitus Severity, and Improved Quality of Life

Jake R. Carpenter-Thompson, Edward McAuley, Fatima T. Husain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to examine the effects of tinnitus severity on quality of life (QOL) and the benefits physical activity may have on tinnitus severity and QOL. The authors hypothesized that (1) QOL would be negatively correlated with tinnitus severity, (2) physical activity would be negatively correlated with tinnitus severity, (3) tinnitus severity and physical activity would have significant independent effects on QOL, and (4) physical activity would have significant and independent effects on tinnitus severity. Design: An online survey was used to collect data from adults with tinnitus; 1030 individuals initiated the survey. Approximately 40% of responses were not included in data analysis due to incomplete data. The following measures were included in the survey: the Tinnitus Functional Index, the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Question, the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short form (Physical Component Score [PCS]; Mental Component Score [MCS]), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). Descriptive statistics, Pearson correlations, and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted. Results: Higher levels of physical activity were significantly associated with improved health-related and global QOL and lower levels of tinnitus severity. Both tinnitus severity (12.3% SWLS, 3.8% PCS, and 21.2% MCS) and physical activity (1.1% SWLS, 5.8% PCS, and 1.1% MCS) accounted for significant unique variations in the QOL measures. Physical activity accounted (0.8% Tinnitus Functional Index) for significant unique variation in tinnitus severity. Conclusions: Physical activity had a small but statistically significant correlation with QOL and tinnitus distress. Our results suggest that physical activity may be a management strategy for those with tinnitus, but further testing is necessary to assess the relationship between physical activity and tinnitus severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-581
Number of pages8
JournalEar and hearing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 5 2015


  • Physical activity
  • Quality of life
  • Survey
  • Therapy
  • Tinnitus
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing


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