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 strength and resilience to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. For some people, sadly, depression can be the outcome.
Persistent tinnitus has been linked to a higher rate of suicide, particularly among women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
Researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 people to establish the connection between tinnitus and suicide (bigger sample sizes are necessary to generate dependable, scientific final results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the participants reported having tinnitus.
- 9% of women with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of participants.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. These results also indicate that a large portion of people suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, many people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research 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. That said, we shouldn’t disregard the concern in the meantime.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research suggests an increased risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study didn’t draw clear conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. There are a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing inherent in the data that singles out any of those arguments as more or less likely.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most individuals who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also have their own obstacles, of course. But the suicide risk for women was far more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Possibly the next most startling conclusion in this study is that relatively few individuals were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is perhaps the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health problems linked to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. Here are some of the many advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently managed with treatment.
- Tinnitus is frequently a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
Up to 90% of individuals who experience tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and treating hearing loss by wearing hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. In fact, some hearing aids are designed with extra features to help tinnitus symptoms. To find out if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.