As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever recede once and for all. Sadly, for some, tinnitus can cause depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been associated with a higher rate of suicide, especially in women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Connection?
So that they can establish any type of link between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are necessary to generate reliable, scientific results).
According to the responses they received:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of participants.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Out of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of participants.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. These results also suggest that a large 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 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 need to take these findings seriously.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research suggests an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study did not draw clear 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.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most individuals who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also present their own obstacles, of course. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more pronounced for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Perhaps the next most startling conclusion in this research is that fairly few people were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, perhaps, the most significant area of possibility and one of the best ways to decrease suicide or other health risks simultaneously. Here are a few of the many advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Associated With Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals who suffer from tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies indicate that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. In fact, some hearing aids are designed with extra features to improve tinnitus symptoms. To discover if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.