As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. It isn’t just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s coping with the symptoms continuously never knowing for certain if they will subside. Unfortunately, for some people, tinnitus can lead to depression.
Persistent 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 conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Connection?
So that they can identify any kind of link between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (large sample sizes are necessary to generate dependable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the participants reported having tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
- Out of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of participants.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, many people experience relief by using hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
This study must be duplicated in other areas of the world, with different sized populations, and ruling out other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. In the meantime, we need to take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research indicates an increased risk of suicide for women with significant tinnitus, the study didn’t draw definitive conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. There are numerous reasons why this could be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most people who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight instances of tinnitus do not present their own obstacles. But the statistical connection between suicide and women with tinnitus was most pronounced (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Possibly the next most surprising conclusion in this research is that relatively few people were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they presented moderate to severe symptoms.
This is perhaps the best way to decrease the risk of suicide and other health problems connected to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall benefits:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Tinnitus is commonly 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 people who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies suggest that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. Make an appointment to learn if hearing aids could help you.