Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. It’s not just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. Regrettably, for some people, tinnitus can lead to depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been associated with a higher rate of suicide, particularly in women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Connection?
So that they can identify any type of connection between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 people (bigger sample sizes are needed to produce reliable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the participants reported having tinnitus.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of participants.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. These findings also suggest that a large portion of individuals suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, many people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be replicated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. That said, we shouldn’t disregard the problem in the meantime.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research suggests an increased risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study did not draw clear 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 inherent in the data that points towards any of those arguments as more or less likely.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “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 suicide and women with tinnitus was most pronounced (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
Maybe the next most surprising conclusion in this research is that relatively few people were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, possibly, the most significant area of possibility and one of the best ways to reduce suicide or other health concerns at the same time. Here are some of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently managed with treatment.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals who suffer from tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies indicate that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are designed with added features to help tinnitus symptoms. To discover if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.