Tinnitus, like lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for sure if they will go away. Unfortunately, for some people, tinnitus can lead to depression.
Persistent tinnitus has been associated with a higher rate of suicide, especially among women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Link?
Researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals to determine the connection between suicide and tinnitus (bigger sample sizes are necessary to produce reliable, scientific results).
According to the answers they received:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of respondents.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Just 2.1% of respondents documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, many individuals experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
This study must be replicated in other parts of the world, with different population sizes, and ruling out other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research indicates an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study didn’t draw clear 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.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most people who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also present their own challenges, of course. But the suicide risk for women was much more pronounced for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Possibly the next most surprising conclusion in this study is that fairly few people were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is possibly the best way to decrease the danger of suicide and other health problems linked to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. Here are some of the many benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and treating hearing loss by using hearing aids can help decrease tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. Schedule an appointment to learn if hearing aids might help you.