Tinnitus, like lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health element to it. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for sure if they will subside. Sadly, for some people, tinnitus can bring about depression.
According to a study carried out by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, persistent tinnitus has been connected to an increase in suicide rates, especially among women.
What’s The Connection Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
Researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 people to establish the connection between tinnitus and suicide (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the participants reported having tinnitus.
- 9% of women with severe tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of participants reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
It’s obvious 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 professional. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, lots of individuals experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be duplicated in other parts of the world, with different sized populations, and eliminating other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. That being said, we shouldn’t disregard the concern in the meantime.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research points to an increased risk of suicide for women with significant tinnitus, the study didn’t draw definitive 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 intrinsic in the data that points towards 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. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight instances of tinnitus do not present their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more marked for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Possibly the next most surprising conclusion in this research is that relatively few people were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they had moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, perhaps, the most important area of possibility and one of the best ways to reduce suicide or other health concerns simultaneously. Here are a few of the many advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- 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 And Hearing Impairment
Up to 90% of people who experience tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and dealing with hearing loss by wearing 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 learn if hearing aids could help you.