A Brazilian study among 66 participants with normal hearing and no tinnitus found that as many as 68% of the participants experienced ringing sounds similar to tinnitus in their ears when they were asked to concentrate on their hearing ability in a quiet situation. These perceived sounds are known as phantom tinnitus.
In contrast, phantom tinnitus was experienced by 45.5% of the subjects when they were asked to focus on their sight, while only 19.7% reported a phantom tinnitus experience when they were asked to focus on a task in quiet conditions.
In the European Union countries alone, 40-50 million people suffer from tinnitus and up to 12 million suffer from tinnitus so severe that it renders them unable to carry on a normal life.
The way tinnitus sufferers are affected by this condition depends on each individual. According to the researchers, the study showed that the degree of severity for a tinnitus sufferer is greatly affected by the extent the patient focuses on the symptoms and the silence.