Tinnitus, like many chronic conditions, has a mental health element to it. It isn’t just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resiliency to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever go away for good. Regrettably, for some, tinnitus can result in depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been connected to a higher instance of suicide, particularly in women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Link Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
In order to establish any kind of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 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.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Just 2.1% of participants 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 trying to raise awareness for them. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Many individuals can get relief by using hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be replicated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research indicates an elevated risk of suicide for women with significant tinnitus, the study did not draw clear conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are numerous reasons why this could 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 off, the vast majority of those who have noticed tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also present their own challenges, of course. But the statistical correlation between suicide and women with tinnitus was most evident (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Perhaps the next most startling conclusion in this study is that relatively few people were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they presented moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, possibly, the most important area of possibility and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health concerns simultaneously. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Tinnitus is frequently a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of individuals 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. In fact, some hearing aids are made with additional features to help tinnitus symptoms. To find out if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.