Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health aspect to tinnitus. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only difficulty. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. For some individuals, sadly, depression can be the outcome.
According to a study 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 rates, especially with women.
What’s The Connection Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
So that they can establish any kind of connection between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 people (bigger sample sizes are needed to generate reliable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported experiencing tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of participants documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, lots of 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 parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. That being said, we shouldn’t disregard the concern in the meantime.
What Does This Research Suggest?
While this research suggests an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study did not draw definitive conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. There are various reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t identify 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. That doesn’t mean modest or slight instances of tinnitus don’t offer their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was far more pronounced for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
The majority of the participants in this research who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is possibly the next most surprising conclusion.
This is probably the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health concerns connected to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are some of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and managing hearing loss by using hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. Schedule an appointment to learn if hearing aids could help you.