Tinnitus, as with lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. It’s not just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for sure if they will go away. For some people, regrettably, depression can be the outcome.
Persistent 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 conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Connection?
In order to establish any type of link between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are needed to generate reliable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported having tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Just 2.1% of respondents documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, lots of individuals experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be repeated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. In the meantime, we need to 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 definitely the result. There are various reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t identify any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most individuals who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also have their own challenges, of course. But the statistical correlation between women with tinnitus and suicide was most evident (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
Possibly the next most shocking conclusion in this research is that fairly few individuals were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they presented moderate to severe symptoms.
This is probably the best way to decrease the risk of suicide and other health concerns connected to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better regulate their symptoms.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and dealing with hearing loss by wearing hearing aids can help decrease tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. Make an appointment to learn if hearing aids could help you.