Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health aspect to tinnitus. It’s not just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for sure if they will go away. Sadly, for some, tinnitus can lead to depression.
Persistent tinnitus has been linked to a higher rate of suicide, especially among women, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association and conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
Researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals to establish the connection between suicide and tinnitus (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the answers they received:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of respondents.
- 9% of women with severe tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Just 2.1% of participants documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.
The differences in suicide rates between men and women are clear, leading the experts to call out the heightened risks for women. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, lots of people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be duplicated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. That said, we shouldn’t ignore 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 certainly the result. There are various reasons why this could be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First and foremost, the vast majority of people who have experienced tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also have their own obstacles, of course. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more pronounced for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Possibly the next most shocking conclusion in this study is that relatively few individuals were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is perhaps the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health problems linked to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are some of the numerous advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people with tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies suggest that hearing aids help regulate the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. To discover if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.