Tinnitus, as with lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only difficulty. It’s handling the symptoms constantly never knowing for certain if they will subside. For some individuals, sadly, depression can be the outcome.
Persistent tinnitus has been connected to a higher instance of suicide, particularly among women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Connection Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
In order to identify any kind of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the answers they received:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported having tinnitus.
- 9% of women with severe tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Many individuals can get relief by using hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be replicated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research points to an increased 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 a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing inherent in the data that singles out any of those explanations as more or less likely.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of people who have experienced tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight instances of tinnitus don’t offer their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Most of the respondents in this study who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is probably the next most shocking conclusion.
This is possibly the best way to decrease the risk of suicide and other health problems related to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall benefits:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies suggest that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are designed with added features to improve tinnitus symptoms. To find out if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.