Tinnitus, like many chronic conditions, has a mental health element to it. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for certain if they will go away. Regrettably, for some people, tinnitus can result in depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been associated with 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).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Connection?
In order to identify any kind of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (large sample sizes are needed to generate dependable, scientific final results).
According to the answers they got back:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of participants.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of respondents.
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. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, lots of people experience relief by using hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be repeated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. That being said, we shouldn’t ignore the problem in the meantime.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research points to 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 various reasons why this might 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”
First and foremost, the vast majority of people who have noticed tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight instances of tinnitus do not have their own obstacles. But the statistical connection between suicide and women with tinnitus was most pronounced (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Most of the respondents in this research who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is probably the next most surprising conclusion.
This is, possibly, the most significant area of possibility and one of the best ways to reduce suicide or other health concerns simultaneously. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall benefits:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively controlled with treatment.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies indicate that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. To learn if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.