As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. It isn’t just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner strength and resilience to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. Unfortunately, for some people, tinnitus can cause depression.
Persistent tinnitus has been linked to a higher rate of suicide, especially in women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
In order to establish any type of link between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 people (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the responses they got back:
- 22.5% of the participants reported experiencing tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. These findings also indicate that a large portion of people suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. Many individuals can get relief by using hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be duplicated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. That being said, we shouldn’t ignore the concern in the meantime.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research indicates an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study didn’t draw clear conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. There are a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsic in the data that singles out any of those explanations as more or less likely.
Some things to take note of:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of individuals who have noticed tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also have their own challenges, of course. But the statistical correlation between women with tinnitus and suicide was most evident (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
Possibly the next most startling conclusion in this study is that fairly few people were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they had moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, possibly, the most significant area of possibility and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health concerns at the same time. Here are some of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better control their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is commonly a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and managing hearing loss by wearing hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are designed with additional features to help tinnitus symptoms. Schedule an appointment to learn if hearing aids could help you.