As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only difficulty. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for certain if they will subside. For some individuals, unfortunately, depression can be the outcome.
Chronic tinnitus has been linked to a higher rate of suicide, particularly in women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Link Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
In order to identify any type of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (large sample sizes are necessary to generate dependable, scientific final results).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of participants.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus 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 rate of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. These findings also indicate that a significant portion of people suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, lots of people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be duplicated in other parts of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. That said, we shouldn’t ignore the problem in the meantime.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research suggests an increased risk of suicide for women with significant tinnitus, the study didn’t draw definitive conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are numerous possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsic in the data that singles out any of those arguments as more or less likely.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most individuals who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also have their own obstacles, of course. But the suicide risk for women was much more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
The majority of the respondents in this study who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is perhaps the next most surprising conclusion.
This is probably 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 offer many overall advantages:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies suggest that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. To find out if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.