Tinnitus, as with lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health element to it. It isn’t just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for certain if they will go away. For some individuals, regrettably, depression can be the result.
According to research conducted by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, persistent tinnitus has been linked to an increase in suicide cases, particularly among women.
What’s The Link Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
So that they can identify any type of link between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 people (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the answers they got back:
- 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.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. These findings also indicate that a large portion of individuals suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Many individuals can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Universal Findings?
This research must be replicated in other parts of the world, with different population sizes, and ruling out other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. That being said, we shouldn’t disregard the concern in the meantime.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
The study was inconclusive about why women had an increased suicide rate than men but that was certainly the result. There are numerous possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsic in the data that points towards any of those arguments as more or less likely.
Here are a few 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. That doesn’t mean modest or slight cases of tinnitus do not present their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was far more pronounced for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
The majority of the respondents in this study who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is perhaps the next most shocking conclusion.
This is, possibly, the most important area of possibility and one of the best ways to reduce suicide or other health concerns simultaneously. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall advantages:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively controlled with treatment.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Associated With Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people with tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies suggest that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are designed with extra features to help tinnitus symptoms. Make an appointment to learn if hearing aids could help you.