Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health aspect to tinnitus. It’s not just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for certain if they will subside. Unfortunately, for some people, tinnitus can bring about depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been connected to a higher rate of suicide, especially among women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
Researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals to determine the link between tinnitus and suicide (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the responses they received:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported experiencing tinnitus.
- 9% of women with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of participants.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Many individuals can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be repeated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. That said, we shouldn’t ignore the concern in the meantime.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research suggests an elevated risk of suicide for women with significant tinnitus, the study did not draw definitive conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing inherent in the data that singles out any of those explanations as more or less likely.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most people who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight cases of tinnitus do not offer their own challenges. But the statistical correlation between women with tinnitus and suicide was most evident (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
Most of the respondents in this research who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is perhaps the next most surprising conclusion.
This is, perhaps, the most significant area of possibility and one of the best ways to decrease suicide or other health concerns at the same time. Here are some of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is often a warning sign.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals who suffer from tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies suggest that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. Make an appointment to learn if hearing aids could help you.