As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for sure if they will go away. For some people, regrettably, 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 associated with an increase in suicide rates, especially among women.
Suicide And Tinnitus, 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 (large sample sizes are necessary to generate reliable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the participants reported experiencing tinnitus.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Only 2.1% of respondents reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. These findings also suggest that a significant portion of individuals experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Many individuals can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be duplicated in other areas of the world, with different population sizes, and ruling out other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. That said, we shouldn’t disregard the problem 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 certainly the result. There are numerous reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t identify any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most people who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight cases of tinnitus do not offer their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was far more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
The majority of the participants in this study who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is possibly the next most surprising conclusion.
This is, perhaps, the most important area of possibility and one of the best ways to decrease suicide or other health concerns simultaneously. Here are some of the many benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better control their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is commonly a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
Up to 90% of individuals who experience tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and dealing with hearing loss by using hearing aids can help minimize tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. To learn if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.