Tinnitus, as with lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. It isn’t just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever recede once and for all. Regrettably, for some people, tinnitus can bring about depression.
Chronic 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 conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Link?
In order to establish any type of connection between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 people (bigger sample sizes are needed to produce dependable, scientific final results).
According to the responses they received:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of participants.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Out of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of participants reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher instance 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 assistance. Many people can get relief by using hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Universal Findings?
This research must be replicated in other areas of the world, with different population sizes, and ruling out other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. That said, we shouldn’t ignore the problem in the meantime.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research indicates an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study did not draw definitive conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are numerous reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t identify any one reason why this might be.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First and foremost, the vast majority of those who have experienced tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight instances of tinnitus don’t have their own obstacles. But the statistical connection between suicide and women with tinnitus was most evident (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Possibly the next most surprising conclusion in this study is that fairly few individuals were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they presented moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, possibly, the most important area of opportunity and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health risks at the same time. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall benefits:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is often a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who experience tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and dealing with hearing loss by wearing hearing aids can help minimize tinnitus symptoms. In fact, some hearing aids are made with additional features to improve tinnitus symptoms. Make an appointment to find out if hearing aids might help you.