As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. It’s not just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever recede for good. For some individuals, unfortunately, depression can be the outcome.
Persistent tinnitus has been associated with a higher instance of suicide, particularly 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 Connection Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
Researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 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 participants reported having tinnitus.
- 9% of women with significant tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, lots of people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
This study must be duplicated 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 need to take these findings seriously.
What Does This Research Mean?
The study was inconclusive about why women had a higher 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 some things to pay attention to:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
First and foremost, the vast majority of individuals who have noticed tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight cases of tinnitus do not offer their own obstacles. But the statistical connection between suicide and women with tinnitus was most pronounced (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
Most of the respondents in this research who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is probably the next most shocking conclusion.
This is, perhaps, the most significant area of opportunity and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health concerns simultaneously. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall benefits:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals who suffer from tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies suggest that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. Make an appointment to find out if hearing aids might help you.