As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. It’s coping with the symptoms constantly never knowing for certain if they will go away. For some individuals, regrettably, depression can be the outcome.
Persistent tinnitus has been connected to a higher instance of suicide, particularly in women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
Researchers at the SPHC questioned about 70,000 individuals to determine the connection between suicide and tinnitus (large sample sizes are necessary to generate dependable, scientific final results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported experiencing tinnitus.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Out of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of participants.
The differences in suicide rates between men and women are obvious, leading the researchers to bring attention to the heightened dangers for women. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, many people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be duplicated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. That being said, we shouldn’t disregard the concern in the meantime.
What Does This Research Suggest?
The study was inconclusive about why women had a higher suicide rate than men but that was certainly the result. There are a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing inherent in the data that singles out any of those arguments as more or less likely.
Some things to take note of:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most individuals who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight instances of tinnitus do not present their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was far more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
The majority of the respondents in this study who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is perhaps the next most surprising conclusion.
This is, perhaps, the most significant area of opportunity and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health concerns at the same time. Here are some of the many advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of individuals who cope with tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and dealing with hearing loss by using hearing aids can help decrease tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. Schedule an appointment to find out if hearing aids could help you.