Clinical otolaryngology : official journal of ENT-UK ; official journal of Netherlands Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology & Cervico-Facial Surgery

Temperament and character traits in patients with tinnitus: a prospective case series with comparisons.

PMID 27930870


To describe the personality traits of temperament and character in patients with tinnitus and to identify differences in these traits associated with the severity of tinnitus. Case series with comparisons. Tertiary referral centre. From January to December 2014, one hundred and thirty-four adult patients with chronic subjective tinnitus completed psychoacoustic measurements of tinnitus and the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). Personality traits were assessed by the TCI. The TCI assesses seven dimensions of personality traits and four temperaments 'novelty seeking, harm avoidance, reward dependence, persistence', as well as three characters 'self-directedness, cooperativeness, self-transcendence'. The values of the TCI parameters in the tinnitus patients were compared with reference data from a non-institutional adult population, and associations between TCI parameter values and tinnitus severity were evaluated. In terms of temperament, tinnitus patients had higher scores for 'harm avoidance', whereas scores for 'novelty seeking', 'reward dependence' and 'persistence' were significantly lower than the reference. In terms of character, lower 'cooperativeness' and 'self-transcendence' were identified in the subjects with tinnitus. The 'novelty seeking' score was inversely related to tinnitus severity (r = -0.285, P = 0.001), while other temperament and character traits did not show significant correlations. There may be a connection between tinnitus and personality traits, especially in the case of 'novelty seeking', which is relatively constant over a lifetime. The TCI questionnaire may be useful in facilitating the application of personality traits to tailored counselling for tinnitus.