Tinnitus, as with many chronic conditions, has a mental health element to it. It’s not just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s coping with the symptoms constantly never knowing for sure if they will subside. Sadly, for some, tinnitus can result in depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been associated with a higher instance of suicide, particularly in women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Link Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
So that they can establish any type of connection between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are needed to generate reliable, scientific final results).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of participants.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
- Of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
The differences in suicide rates between men and women are obvious, leading the experts to call out the increased dangers for women. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Many people can get relief by using hearing aids and other treatments.
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. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What Does This Research Suggest?
While this research indicates an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study didn’t draw definitive conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. There are various reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
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 correlation between suicide and women with tinnitus was most pronounced (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
Perhaps the next most shocking conclusion in this research is that fairly few people were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they had moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, possibly, the most important area of opportunity and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health risks simultaneously. Here are a few of the many benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better control their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of individuals who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and treating hearing loss by using hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. To find out if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.