Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only difficulty. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resiliency to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever recede once and for all. For some people, sadly, depression can be the result.
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 associated with an increase in suicide cases, particularly among women.
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
In order to identify any type of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (large sample sizes are needed to generate reliable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the participants reported having tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. These findings also indicate that a significant portion of individuals suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, many individuals experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be repeated 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 points to an increased risk of suicide for women with significant 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 might be but the data doesn’t identify any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of individuals who have noticed tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also have their own obstacles, of course. But the statistical connection between suicide and women with tinnitus was most evident (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
The majority of the participants in this research who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is perhaps the next most surprising conclusion.
This is probably the best way to decrease the risk of suicide and other health problems linked to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are some of the many advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people with tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies suggest that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. In fact, some hearing aids are designed with added features to improve tinnitus symptoms. Make an appointment to learn if hearing aids might help you.