As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. it isn’t just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner strength and resiliency to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. Regrettably, for some people, tinnitus can result in depression.
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 associated with an increase in suicide cases, particularly with women.
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
In order to establish any kind of link between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are necessary to produce dependable, scientific final results).
According to the answers they got back:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of participants.
- 9% of women with significant tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Just 2.1% of participants reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. These findings also suggest that a large portion of people experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Many people can get relief by using hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Universal Findings?
This research must be replicated in other areas of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. That said, we shouldn’t disregard the problem in the meantime.
What Does This Research Suggest?
The study was inconclusive about why women had an increased suicide rate than men but that was certainly the result. There are various reasons why this might 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”
Most individuals who experience tinnitus symptoms 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 pronounced (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Perhaps the next most startling conclusion in this research is that fairly few people were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, perhaps, the most important area of opportunity and one of the best ways to reduce suicide or other health concerns at the same time. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is frequently a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies suggest that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. Schedule an appointment to learn if hearing aids might help you.