Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only difficulty. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever recede once and for all. For some individuals, unfortunately, 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, chronic tinnitus has been linked to an increase in suicide rates, particularly among women.
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
So that they can identify any type of connection between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (large sample sizes are needed to generate reliable, scientific results).
According to the responses they received:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of respondents.
- 9% of women with significant tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Out of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are obvious, leading the researchers to call out the heightened dangers for women. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Many individuals can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Universal Findings?
This research must be duplicated in other parts of the world, with different sized populations, and eliminating other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research suggests an elevated risk of suicide for women with significant tinnitus, the study didn’t draw definitive conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. 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 some things to pay attention to:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most individuals who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also present their own challenges, of course. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
The majority of the participants in this research who described 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 concerns connected to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are some of the many benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better regulate their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is frequently a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Impairment
Up to 90% of people who experience tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and managing hearing loss by using hearing aids can help minimize tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. To discover if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.