Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resiliency to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. For some individuals, unfortunately, depression can be the result.
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 conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
Researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 people to establish the link between tinnitus and suicide (bigger sample sizes are necessary to generate dependable, scientific final results).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of respondents.
- 9% of women with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of participants.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are obvious, leading the experts to call out the heightened dangers for women. These results also suggest that a significant portion of individuals suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. Many people can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be duplicated in other parts of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can come to 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 definitely the result. There are various reasons why this could 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 individuals who have noticed tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight cases of tinnitus do not have 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 described their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
Maybe the next most shocking conclusion in this study is that fairly few individuals were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is probably the best way to reduce the risk of suicide and other health problems connected to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall benefits:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently managed with treatment.
- Tinnitus is commonly a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Impairment
Up to 90% of individuals who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and managing hearing loss by using hearing aids can help minimize tinnitus symptoms. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are made with added features to help tinnitus symptoms. To find out if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.