Tinnitus, like lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health element to it. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever go away permanently. Sadly, for some people, tinnitus can result in depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been connected to a higher rate of suicide, particularly in women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
Scientists at the SPHC questioned about 70,000 people to determine the link between suicide and tinnitus (large sample sizes are needed to generate dependable, scientific final results).
According to the answers they got back:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of respondents.
- 9% of women with significant tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. These findings also indicate that a large portion of individuals suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Many individuals can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be replicated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. 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 an increased suicide rate than men but that was certainly the result. There are numerous possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsic in the data that singles out any of those explanations as more or less likely.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of people who have experienced tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also have their own challenges, of course. But the suicide risk for women was much more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
The majority of the respondents in this research who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is probably the next most shocking conclusion.
This is, perhaps, the most significant area of possibility and one of the best ways to reduce suicide or other health risks at the same time. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better regulate their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is commonly a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people with tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies suggest that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. Schedule an appointment to learn if hearing aids could help you.