As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element 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 bring about depression.
Persistent tinnitus has been linked to a higher rate of suicide, particularly among women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Connection Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
So that they can identify any type of connection between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are needed to produce reliable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of respondents.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of respondents.
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 professional. Many people can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be duplicated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. In the meantime, we need to take these findings seriously.
What Does This Research Mean?
The study was inconclusive about why women had a higher suicide rate than men but that was certainly the result. There are various reasons why this could be but the data doesn’t identify any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
First and foremost, the vast majority of individuals who have experienced tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also have their own obstacles, of course. But the statistical correlation between women with tinnitus and suicide was most evident (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Most of the participants in this study who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is possibly the next most surprising conclusion.
This is perhaps the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health problems linked to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently managed with treatment.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Associated With Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of individuals 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. In fact, some hearing aids are designed with additional features to help tinnitus symptoms. Make an appointment to find out if hearing aids could help you.