Association of Occupational Stress with Tinnitus Among Career Firefighters in the United States


Objective: This study explores the relationship between occupational stress and tinnitus among firefighters, a group often exposed to two tinnitus risk factors: high stress and noise.

Methods: This cross-sectional study includes 240 firefighters in the United States. Data describing demographic characteristics, occupational stress, noise exposure, and tinnitus were collected by survey. Occupational stress was measured using the short version of the Effort-Reward Imbalance Questionnaire.

Results: Forty-three percent of participants reported experiencing tinnitus within the past month. For occupational stress, higher effort (odds ratio, 1.25; 95% confidence interval, 1.05 to 1.49) and higher effort-reward ratio (odds ratio, 12.28; 95% confidence interval, 3.08 to 48.86) were associated with increased odds of tinnitus, after adjustment for demographic characteristics and noise exposure.

Conclusions: Occupational stress may increase the likelihood of tinnitus for firefighters, an already at-risk group of workers. Health providers should incorporate stress assessment into tinnitus management programs.

Dal Lae Chin
Jian Li
OiSaeng Hong
Publication date: 
October 28, 2022
Publication type: 
Journal Articles
Odes R, Chin DL, Li J, Hong O. Association of Occupational Stress With Tinnitus Among Career Firefighters in the United States. J Occup Environ Med. 2023 Feb 1;65(2):e30-e35. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000002742. Epub 2022 Oct 28. PMID: 36306205.