PTSD symptoms and tinnitus severity: An analysis of veterans with posttraumatic headaches

John C. Moring, Casey L. Straud, Donald B. Penzien, Patricia A. Resick, Alan L Peterson, Carlos A. Jaramillo, Blessen C. Eapen, Cindy A. McGeary, Jim Mintz, Brett T. Litz, Stacey Young-McCaughan, Terence M. Keane, Donald D. McGeary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Tinnitus and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are among the top service-connected disabilities within the Veterans Health Administration. Extant research shows that there is considerable overlap between tinnitus-related distress and PTSD, including sleep difficulty, irritability, hyperarousal, and concentration problems. However, no studies have prospectively examined the relationship between the two disorders. The purpose of this study was to examine that relationship. METHOD: Participants (N = 112) with posttraumatic headache completed measures of tinnitus and PTSD. Correlational analyses and analyses of variance were conducted to examine the associations with PTSD symptom clusters and factors of tinnitus-related distress. RESULTS: Approximately, half of participants with tinnitus demonstrated severe impairment. Correlational analyses indicated that reexperiencing, avoidance, negative emotions and cognitions, and hyperarousal PTSD symptoms were significantly related to many factors of tinnitus-related distress, including intrusiveness of tinnitus, perceived loudness, awareness, and annoyance. Participants with severe tinnitus demonstrated significantly greater reexperiencing, negative mood/cognitions, hyperarousal, and PTSD total severity compared to those with mild or moderate tinnitus. CONCLUSIONS: Trauma therapists should assess for the presence of tinnitus in order to more fully conceptualize key health problems of help-seeking patients. Heightened psychological symptoms seemingly related to PTSD may be a function of tinnitus-related distress. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-183
Number of pages6
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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