Tinnitus, as with many chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s coping with the symptoms continuously never knowing for sure if they will go away. Unfortunately, for some, tinnitus can bring about depression.
According to research carried out by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, chronic tinnitus has been linked to an increase in suicide cases, especially with women.
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Link?
In order to establish any kind of link between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported experiencing tinnitus.
- 9% of women with severe tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of respondents.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. These results also indicate that a large portion of people experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Many people can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Universal Findings?
This research must be replicated in other areas of the world, with different sized populations, and eliminating other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
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 people who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also have their own obstacles, of course. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
The majority of the respondents in this study who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is possibly the next most surprising conclusion.
This is probably the best way to reduce the risk of suicide and other health concerns connected to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall advantages:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who experience tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and managing hearing loss by wearing hearing aids can help minimize tinnitus symptoms. In fact, some hearing aids are designed with added features to help tinnitus symptoms. To learn if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.