Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. It isn’t just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner strength and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever recede for good. Unfortunately, for some, tinnitus can cause depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been connected 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?
In order to establish any kind of link between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (large sample sizes are needed to produce dependable, scientific final results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the participants reported experiencing tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Just 2.1% of participants reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are clear, leading the experts to call out the heightened dangers for women. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, lots of individuals experience relief by using hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be replicated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. That being said, we shouldn’t disregard the concern in the meantime.
What Does This Research Suggest?
While this research suggests an increased risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study did not draw definitive conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing inherent in the data that points towards any of those arguments as more or less likely.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of those who have noticed tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also have their own challenges, of course. But the statistical connection between suicide and women with tinnitus was most evident (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
Perhaps the next most startling conclusion in this study is that relatively few people were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, possibly, the most important area of opportunity and one of the best ways to reduce suicide or other health concerns at the same time. Here are a few of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Tinnitus is frequently a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals with tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies indicate that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. Make an appointment to learn if hearing aids might help you.