As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. It’s finding the inner strength and resilience to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever recede permanently. Regrettably, for some, tinnitus can bring about depression.
According to a study carried out by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, chronic tinnitus has been linked to an increase in suicide rates, especially with women.
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Link?
So that they can establish any kind of link between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are needed to produce reliable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of participants.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Out of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in only 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 people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Many people can get relief by using hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Findings Universal?
This study must be replicated in other parts of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. That being said, we shouldn’t disregard the problem 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 definitely the result. There are a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing inherent in the data that points towards any of those arguments as more or less likely.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most people who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight instances of tinnitus don’t present their own obstacles. But the suicide risk for women was much more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
The majority of the participants in this study who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is probably the next most shocking conclusion.
This is, possibly, the most important area of opportunity and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health risks at the same time. Here are some of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Individuals who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is often a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies indicate that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. In fact, some hearing aids are made with additional features to help tinnitus symptoms. To find out if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.