Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health aspect to tinnitus. It isn’t just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s coping with the symptoms constantly never knowing for certain if they will subside. For some people, sadly, depression can be the result.
Persistent tinnitus has been linked to a higher instance of suicide, especially among women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Link Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
Researchers at the SPHC questioned around 70,000 individuals to establish the link between tinnitus and suicide (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of respondents.
- 9% of women with significant tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Only 2.1% of participants reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. These findings also indicate that a large portion of people suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Many people can get relief by using hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be duplicated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. That being said, we shouldn’t ignore the concern in the meantime.
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.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most people who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight instances of tinnitus don’t offer their own obstacles. But the statistical connection between suicide and women with tinnitus was most evident (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
The majority of the participants in this research who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is perhaps the next most surprising conclusion.
This is perhaps the best way to decrease the risk of suicide and other health concerns related to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are some of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Tinnitus is commonly a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of individuals 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, schedule an appointment.