As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health aspect to tinnitus. It isn’t just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resiliency to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever recede for good. Regrettably, for some, tinnitus can cause depression.
Persistent tinnitus has been associated with a higher instance of suicide, especially in women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Link Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
So that they can establish any type of link between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of participants.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Only 2.1% of respondents reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. These findings also suggest that a large portion of individuals experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. Many people can get relief by using hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Universal Findings?
This study must be duplicated in other parts of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. In the meantime, we need to take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research points to an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study did not draw definitive conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. There are various reasons why this could be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most people who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also present their own obstacles, of course. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more pronounced for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Most of the respondents in this study who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is probably the next most surprising conclusion.
This is possibly the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health problems linked to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. Here are a few of the many advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently managed with treatment.
- Tinnitus is frequently a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
Up to 90% of people who experience tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and treating hearing loss by using hearing aids can help decrease tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. Schedule an appointment to learn if hearing aids might help you.