Tinnitus, as with many chronic conditions, has a mental health element to it. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. It’s coping with the symptoms continuously never knowing for certain if they will subside. For some people, unfortunately, depression can be the outcome.
Chronic tinnitus has been connected to a higher rate of suicide, especially in women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
Scientists at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 people to establish the connection between tinnitus and suicide (bigger sample sizes are necessary to produce dependable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of respondents.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Out of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of respondents documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are clear, leading the researchers to bring attention to the heightened dangers for women. These findings also suggest that a significant portion of people suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, lots of individuals experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be replicated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research points to an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study did not draw clear conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. There are a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing inherent 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”
First off, the vast majority of individuals who have experienced tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight instances of tinnitus do not have their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was much more marked for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
The majority of the participants in this research who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is probably the next most surprising conclusion.
This is perhaps the best way to decrease the risk of suicide and other health concerns connected to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are some of the many advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better regulate their symptoms.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who experience tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and treating hearing loss by wearing hearing aids can help minimize tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. Schedule an appointment to find out if hearing aids could help you.