Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. It’s not just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner strength and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. For some people, regrettably, depression can be the result.
According to a study conducted by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, chronic tinnitus has been linked to an increase in suicide rates, particularly among women.
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
So that they can identify any kind of connection between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 people (bigger sample sizes are needed to produce dependable, scientific results).
According to the answers they got back:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported experiencing tinnitus.
- 9% of women with significant tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus 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 instance of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get 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 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. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
The study was inconclusive about why women had a higher suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are numerous possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsic in the data that points towards any of those arguments as more or less likely.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most people who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also present their own obstacles, of course. But the statistical correlation 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
The majority of the respondents in this study who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is possibly the next most surprising conclusion.
This is possibly the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health concerns connected to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively controlled with treatment.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of individuals who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and managing hearing loss by using hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. To find out if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.