Tinnitus, as with many chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s finding the inner strength and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. Unfortunately, for some, tinnitus can cause depression.
According to a study conducted 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 cases, especially among women.
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
Researchers at the SPHC questioned about 70,000 people to establish the link between suicide and tinnitus (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported experiencing tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Just 2.1% of respondents reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. These findings also suggest that a significant portion of people suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, lots of individuals experience relief by using hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be replicated in other parts of the world, with different sized populations, and ruling out other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. That said, we shouldn’t ignore the concern in the meantime.
What Does This Research Mean?
The study was inconclusive about why women had an increased suicide rate than men but that was certainly the result. There are various reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t identify any one reason why this might be.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of people who have experienced tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also present their own challenges, of course. But the statistical connection between suicide and women with tinnitus was most pronounced (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
Most of the participants in this research who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is possibly the next most surprising conclusion.
This is, possibly, the most important area of opportunity and one of the best ways to reduce suicide or other health concerns simultaneously. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall benefits:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
Up to 90% of individuals who experience tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and managing 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, schedule an appointment.