Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. Coping 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 recede once and for all. For some individuals, sadly, 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 with women.
What’s The Connection Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
Researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 people to establish the connection between tinnitus and suicide (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the answers they got back:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported having tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Out of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Just 2.1% of respondents documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
It’s clear 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 significant portion of people experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Many people can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be replicated 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 severe tinnitus, the study didn’t draw clear conclusions as to why women were at greater 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”
Most people who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also have their own obstacles, of course. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
Perhaps the next most shocking conclusion in this study is that fairly few individuals were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they presented moderate to severe symptoms.
This is probably the best way to decrease the danger of suicide and other health problems linked to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are a few of the many benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better regulate their symptoms.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is often a warning sign.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who experience tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and dealing with hearing loss by using hearing aids can help minimize tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. To learn if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.