As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resiliency to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. Sadly, for some people, tinnitus can result in depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been associated with a higher rate of suicide, especially among women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Connection Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
Scientists at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals to establish the link between suicide and tinnitus (large sample sizes are needed to produce dependable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of participants.
- 9% of women with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Out of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of participants documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are obvious, leading the experts to bring attention to the heightened risks for women. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Many people can get relief by using hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be duplicated in other parts of the world, with different sized populations, and ruling out other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. That being said, we shouldn’t ignore the concern in the meantime.
What Does This Research Suggest?
The study was inconclusive about why women had a higher suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are numerous possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing inherent in the data that singles out any of those arguments as more or less likely.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most individuals who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight instances of tinnitus do not have their own obstacles. But the suicide risk for women was far more marked for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Most of the respondents in this research who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is perhaps the next most surprising conclusion.
This is probably the best way to reduce the risk of suicide and other health problems related to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. Here are some of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively controlled with treatment.
- Tinnitus is commonly 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 individuals who experience tinnitus also have hearing loss 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 improve tinnitus symptoms. Make an appointment to find out if hearing aids might help you.