Tinnitus, as with many chronic conditions, has a mental health element to it. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever recede once and for all. Regrettably, for some people, tinnitus can bring about depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been connected to a higher rate of suicide, particularly among women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
Researchers at the SPHC questioned about 70,000 people to determine the link between tinnitus and suicide (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of participants.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher instance 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 specialist. Many individuals can get relief by using hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be duplicated in other parts of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. That being said, we shouldn’t disregard 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 severe 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.
Some things to take note of:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most people who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also have their own challenges, of course. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Maybe the next most startling conclusion in this study is that relatively few individuals were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they presented moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, perhaps, the most important area of opportunity and one of the best ways to decrease suicide or other health risks simultaneously. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall benefits:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Associated With Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people with tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies indicate that hearing aids help regulate the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. Schedule an appointment to find out if hearing aids could help you.