J Am Acad Audiol 2020; 31(03): 217-223
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.19023
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Parental Separation and Parental Mental Health in Childhood and Risk of Insomnia in Adulthood among Patients with Tinnitus

Hashir Aazh
*   Audiology Department, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Guildford, UK
Basant K. Puri
†   Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK
Brian C. J. Moore
‡   Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

12 March 2019

Publication Date:
24 May 2020 (online)



Many patients seeking help for tinnitus also suffer from insomnia. Adverse childhood experiences may affect the likelihood of insomnia in later life for such patients.


To explore whether parental separation and parental mental health during childhood are related to the severity of insomnia among patients with tinnitus and/or hyperacusis seen in an Audiology clinic.

Research Design:

This was a retrospective cross-sectional study.

Study Sample:

One hundred seventy-four consecutive patients who attended a tinnitus/hyperacusis clinic in the United Kingdom were included.

Data Collection:

Data were based on responses to questionnaires for people seeking help for tinnitus.


Sixteen percent of patients (27/174) reported that during the first 18 years of life, their parents were separated or divorced and 41% (72/174) reported that their parent(s) suffered from a mental illness. The mean score for the insomnia severity index (ISI) was not significantly affected by parental separation or divorce. However, the mean ISI score was significantly worse for patients whose parents had a mental illness. A multinomial logistic regression model, adjusted for the presence of hyperacusis, hearing loss, age, and gender, indicated that for individuals experiencing tinnitus, a history of parental mental illness during their childhood increased the chance of severe insomnia by a factor of 3.4 (95% confidence interval: 1.1 to 10.8, p = 0.04). The risk of having severe insomnia was 3.8 times greater for patients with hyperacusis than for those without.


Among patients seeking help for tinnitus/hyperacusis, poor parental mental health was associated with severe insomnia.


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