Tinnitus, like lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. It’s not just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s coping with the symptoms continuously never knowing for sure if they will subside. Regrettably, for some, tinnitus can lead to depression.
Persistent tinnitus has been connected to a higher instance of suicide, particularly in 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 Connection Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
In order to establish any kind of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the responses they received:
- 22.5% of the participants reported experiencing tinnitus.
- 9% of women with significant tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of participants.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are obvious, leading the experts to bring attention to the increased dangers for women. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, many people experience relief by using hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be duplicated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research indicates an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study didn’t draw clear 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 arguments as more or less likely.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of those who have noticed tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight instances of tinnitus don’t have their own challenges. 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.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
Maybe the next most shocking conclusion in this study is that relatively few people were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they had moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, possibly, the most important area of possibility and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health risks simultaneously. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall benefits:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively controlled with treatment.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is often 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 treating hearing loss by using hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. In fact, some hearing aids are made with extra features to improve tinnitus symptoms. Make an appointment to learn if hearing aids could help you.