As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. It isn’t 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 recede for good. Unfortunately, for some people, tinnitus can lead to depression.
According to research carried out by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, chronic tinnitus has been connected to an increase in suicide rates, especially among women.
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
In order to identify any type of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 people (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the responses they received:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of respondents.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of participants documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are obvious, leading the experts to call out the heightened dangers for women. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, many people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
This study must be duplicated in other parts of the world, with different sized populations, and ruling out other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research suggests an elevated risk of suicide for women with significant tinnitus, the study didn’t draw clear conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are various reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of individuals who have noticed tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight cases of tinnitus do not present their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
The majority of the participants in this research who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is perhaps the next most shocking conclusion.
This is probably the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health concerns linked to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are a few of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better control their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people who suffer from tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies suggest that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are made with additional features to improve tinnitus symptoms. Make an appointment to find out if hearing aids might help you.