As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. It’s not just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for certain if they will subside. For some individuals, regrettably, depression can be the outcome.
Persistent tinnitus has been linked to a higher rate of suicide, particularly among women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
Researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals to establish the link between suicide and tinnitus (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the answers they received:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of respondents.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
- Of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Just 2.1% of participants 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 increased risks for women. These results also suggest that a significant portion of individuals experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. Many individuals can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other therapies.
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 need to take these findings seriously.
What Does This Research Mean?
The study was inconclusive about why women had an increased suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are numerous reasons why this could be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most people who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also have their own obstacles, of course. But the statistical correlation between suicide and women with tinnitus was most evident (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Perhaps the next most surprising conclusion in this study is that fairly few individuals were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they presented moderate to severe symptoms.
This is possibly the best way to minimize the danger of suicide and other health concerns linked to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are a few of the numerous advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people with tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies indicate that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of 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.