As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. It’s handling the symptoms constantly never knowing for certain if they will go away. For some individuals, unfortunately, depression can be the outcome.
According to research carried out by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, persistent tinnitus has been associated with an increase in suicide rates, especially with women.
What’s The Link Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
In order to identify any kind of link between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 people (bigger sample sizes are necessary to produce reliable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported experiencing tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of respondents reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Many individuals can get relief by using hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be repeated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. In the meantime, we need to take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research indicates an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study did not draw clear conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsic in the data that singles out any of those explanations as more or less likely.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of those who have noticed tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also have their own challenges, of course. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more pronounced for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Maybe the next most surprising conclusion in this research 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 minimize the risk of suicide and other health problems linked to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are some of the numerous advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better control their symptoms.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and treating hearing loss by using hearing aids can help decrease tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. To discover if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.