Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health aspect to tinnitus. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only difficulty. 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. Unfortunately, for some people, tinnitus can result in depression.
Persistent tinnitus has been connected to a higher instance of suicide, especially in women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Link Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
In order to identify any type of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 people (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the participants reported having tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Out of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of participants.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. These findings also indicate that a large portion of people suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, many people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
This study must be replicated in other parts of the world, with different sized populations, and eliminating other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. In the meantime, we need to take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
The study was inconclusive about why women had a higher suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are numerous reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
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. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight cases of tinnitus don’t have their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was much more pronounced for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Possibly the next most surprising conclusion in this study is that fairly few individuals were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they had moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, perhaps, the most significant area of possibility and one of the best ways to reduce suicide or other health risks simultaneously. Here are a few of the numerous advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and managing hearing loss by wearing hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. To learn if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.