Tinnitus, like many chronic conditions, has a mental health aspect to it. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s handling the symptoms constantly never knowing for sure if they will go away. For some people, sadly, depression can be the result.
Chronic tinnitus has been associated with a higher instance of suicide, especially among women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Link Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
So that they can establish any kind of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 people (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the answers they got back:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of participants.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Out of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of participants.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. These findings also indicate that a significant portion of individuals suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, many people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be replicated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. That being said, we shouldn’t disregard the problem in the meantime.
What Does This Research Suggest?
While this research indicates 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 a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsic in the data that singles out any of those explanations as more or less likely.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of those who have noticed tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also have their own obstacles, of course. But the suicide risk for women was much more pronounced for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Maybe the next most surprising conclusion in this research is that fairly few people were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is possibly the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health concerns linked to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
Up to 90% of individuals who experience tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and dealing with hearing loss by using hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. In fact, some hearing aids are designed with additional features to improve tinnitus symptoms. To find out if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.