As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. 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 once and for all. For some individuals, sadly, depression can be the result.
Chronic tinnitus has been linked to a higher instance of suicide, especially among women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Link Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
Scientists at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals to determine the link between tinnitus and suicide (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the answers they got back:
- 22.5% of the participants reported having tinnitus.
- 9% of women with significant tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of participants documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. These findings also suggest that a significant portion of people experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, many individuals experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
This study must be replicated in other areas of the world, with different sized populations, and eliminating other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. That said, we shouldn’t disregard the concern in the meantime.
What Does This Research Mean?
The study was inconclusive about why women had an increased suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are numerous 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 off, the vast majority of people who have noticed tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight cases of tinnitus don’t offer their own challenges. But the statistical connection between women with tinnitus and suicide was most evident (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
Perhaps the next most startling conclusion in this study is that fairly few people were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is perhaps the best way to minimize the risk of suicide and other health problems linked to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall advantages:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies indicate that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are made with extra features to improve tinnitus symptoms. Schedule an appointment to find out if hearing aids might help you.