Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resiliency to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever recede for good. For some people, unfortunately, depression can be the outcome.
Chronic 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 carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
Researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 people to establish the link between tinnitus and suicide (bigger sample sizes are needed to produce dependable, scientific final results).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of respondents.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
- Out of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Just 2.1% of participants documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Many individuals can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Universal Findings?
This research must be duplicated in other parts of the world, with different population sizes, and ruling out other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. That said, we shouldn’t ignore the concern in the meantime.
What Does This Research Suggest?
While this research indicates an increased risk of suicide for women with significant tinnitus, the study did not draw definitive conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. There are numerous reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most individuals who experience 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 pronounced for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
The majority of the participants in this study who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is perhaps the next most shocking conclusion.
This is, possibly, the most important area of opportunity and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health concerns at the same time. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall advantages:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Tinnitus is frequently a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and managing hearing loss by wearing hearing aids can help minimize tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. Schedule an appointment to find out if hearing aids might help you.