Increased Risk of Major Depressive Disorder Following Tinnitus: A Population-Based Study

Herng Ching Lin, Sudha Xirasagar, Chia Hui Wang, Yen Fu Cheng, Tzong Hann Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background and Purpose: In this study, we aimed to evaluate the relationship between tinnitus and a subsequent diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD) by studying the incidence of both entities. Design: A retrospective cohort study. Methods: Data for this observational follow-up study were retrieved from the Taiwan's National Health Insurance Dataset. A total of 375,272 patients with newly diagnosed tinnitus (study group) were retrieved. The date of first diagnosis of tinnitus was assigned as their index date. Comparison patients were selected by propensity score matching (one per case, n = 375,272 controls) from the same dataset, with their index date being the date of their first health service claim in the year of diagnosis of their matched index case. We tracked each patient's claims records for 1 year from the index date to identify those who received a diagnosis of MDD. Cox proportional hazards regression was performed to calculate the MDD hazard ratio for cases vs. controls. Results: We found that the overall incidence rate for MDD was 0.78 (95% CI = 0.76~0.80) per 100 person-years, being 1.17 (95% CI = 1.14~1.21) among the study cohorts and 0.38 (95% CI = 0.36~0.40) among the comparison cohorts. The log-rank test revealed that the patients in the study cohort had significantly lower one-year MDD-free survival when compared to the comparison cohort (p < 0.001). Cox proportional hazards analysis showed that the patients in the study cohort had a higher hazard of developing MDD than the patients in the comparison cohort (adjusted HR = 3.08, 95% CI = 2.90~3.27). Conclusions: In this study, we demonstrate that tinnitus is associated with an increased hazard of subsequent MDD in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number836842
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 21 2022


  • depression
  • epidemiology
  • neuro-otology
  • otology
  • tinnitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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