Tinnitus, as with many chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only difficulty. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. Sadly, for some people, tinnitus can lead to depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been linked to a higher instance of suicide, particularly among women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Connection?
Scientists at the SPHC questioned around 70,000 people to establish the connection between tinnitus and suicide (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the answers they got back:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of respondents.
- 9% of women with significant tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Out of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Just 2.1% of respondents reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, many people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
This study must be replicated in other parts of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What Does This Research Mean?
The study was inconclusive about why women had an increased suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are numerous reasons why this could 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. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight cases of tinnitus don’t offer their own obstacles. But the suicide risk for women was much more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
The majority of the respondents in this study who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is perhaps the next most shocking conclusion.
This is probably the best way to minimize the risk of suicide and other health problems related to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. Here are a few of the many advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
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 minimize tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. Schedule an appointment to find out if hearing aids could help you.