As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health aspect to tinnitus. It isn’t just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s coping with the symptoms constantly never knowing for sure if they will go away. Unfortunately, for some people, tinnitus can cause depression.
According to research carried out by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, persistent tinnitus has been associated with an increase in suicide rates, especially among women.
What’s The Connection Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
In order to establish any type of link between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of participants.
- 9% of women with significant tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Out of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of respondents.
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 therapies for tinnitus, lots of individuals experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
This study must be duplicated in other areas of the world, with different sized populations, and eliminating other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. That being said, we shouldn’t ignore 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 definitive conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are various reasons why this might 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 individuals who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also present their own challenges, of course. But the statistical connection between women with tinnitus and suicide was most pronounced (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Perhaps the next most shocking conclusion in this research is that fairly few individuals were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they had moderate to severe symptoms.
This is probably the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health concerns connected to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of individuals who cope with tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and managing hearing loss by using hearing aids can help decrease tinnitus symptoms. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are made with extra features to help tinnitus symptoms. Make an appointment to find out if hearing aids might help you.