Tinnitus, as with lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health aspect to it. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only difficulty. It’s handling the symptoms constantly never knowing for certain if they will go away. For some people, sadly, depression can be the result.
Persistent tinnitus has been associated with a higher instance of suicide, especially in women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
Researchers at the SPHC questioned about 70,000 individuals to establish the link between tinnitus and suicide (bigger sample sizes are necessary to produce reliable, scientific results).
According to the answers they received:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported having tinnitus.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of respondents documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are clear, leading the researchers to bring attention to the increased dangers for women. These results also suggest that a significant portion of individuals experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, lots of people experience relief by using hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be repeated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. That being 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 numerous reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t identify any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First and foremost, the vast majority of people 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 described their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
Perhaps the next most startling conclusion in this research is that relatively few individuals were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they had moderate to severe symptoms.
This is probably the best way to minimize the danger of suicide and other health concerns linked to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. Here are some of the numerous advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently managed with treatment.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is often a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
Up to 90% of people who experience tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and managing hearing loss by wearing hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. Make an appointment to find out if hearing aids might help you.