Tinnitus, like many chronic conditions, has a mental health aspect to it. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s handling the symptoms constantly never knowing for certain if they will subside. For some people, sadly, depression can be the result.
Persistent tinnitus has been associated with a higher instance of suicide, particularly among women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Link Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
Scientists at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 people to establish the link between tinnitus and suicide (bigger sample sizes are needed to produce reliable, scientific final results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported having tinnitus.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of participants documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.
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 large portion of individuals suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional help. 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 come to any broad generalizations. That said, we shouldn’t disregard the problem in the meantime.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research indicates an increased risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study didn’t draw definitive conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are numerous reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of people who have experienced tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight cases of tinnitus don’t have their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
The majority of the respondents in this research who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is probably the next most surprising conclusion.
This is possibly the best way to decrease the danger of suicide and other health problems linked to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are some of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better control their symptoms.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is often a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and dealing with hearing loss by using hearing aids can help decrease tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. To find out if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.