Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only difficulty. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resiliency to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever go away permanently. Unfortunately, for some, tinnitus can bring about depression.
Persistent tinnitus has been associated with a higher rate of suicide, particularly in women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
In order to identify any type of connection between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 people (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the responses they got back:
- 22.5% of the participants reported having tinnitus.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Out 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.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Many individuals can get relief by using hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be replicated in other areas of the world, with different sized populations, and eliminating other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. That being said, we shouldn’t ignore the problem in the meantime.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
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 pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most individuals who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight instances of tinnitus don’t have their own obstacles. But the suicide risk for women was much more pronounced for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Possibly the next most startling conclusion in this study is that fairly few individuals were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they presented moderate to severe symptoms.
This is possibly the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health concerns related to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are a few of the numerous advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Tinnitus is commonly a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies suggest that hearing aids help regulate the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. To find out if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.