Tinnitus, like lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health aspect to it. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. It’s finding the inner strength and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever go away for good. Regrettably, for some, tinnitus can cause depression.
According to a study carried out by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, persistent tinnitus has been associated with an increase in suicide cases, particularly with women.
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
In order to identify any type of connection between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are necessary to produce dependable, scientific final results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported experiencing tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of respondents documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are obvious, leading the experts to bring attention to the heightened dangers for women. These findings also indicate that a significant portion of individuals suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. Many people can get relief by using hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be duplicated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. That said, we shouldn’t disregard the concern in the meantime.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research suggests an increased risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study didn’t draw definitive conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. 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”
Most people who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also present their own obstacles, of course. But the statistical correlation between suicide and women with tinnitus was most evident (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Possibly the next most shocking conclusion in this study is that fairly few individuals were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they presented moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, perhaps, the most important area of possibility 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.
- Tinnitus is commonly a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people with tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies indicate that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are designed with added features to improve tinnitus symptoms. Schedule an appointment to learn if hearing aids could help you.