Tinnitus, as with lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health element to it. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. 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. Regrettably, for some people, tinnitus can result in depression.
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 connected to an increase in suicide rates, particularly among women.
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Link?
In order to identify any kind of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the answers they got back:
- 22.5% of the participants reported having tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of participants.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Many people can get relief by using hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be replicated in other areas of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. That 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 definitely the result. There are various reasons why this could 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 and foremost, the vast majority of those who have noticed tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight instances of tinnitus do not have their own obstacles. But the statistical connection between women with tinnitus and suicide was most evident (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
Possibly the next most startling conclusion in this study is that relatively few people were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, possibly, the most important area of possibility and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health concerns simultaneously. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall benefits:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is often a warning sign.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Impairment
Up to 90% of individuals who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and treating hearing loss by wearing hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are made with additional features to help tinnitus symptoms. Make an appointment to find out if hearing aids could help you.