As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. It’s not just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner strength and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever recede once and for all. Unfortunately, for some, tinnitus can bring about depression.
According to research conducted by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, persistent tinnitus has been connected to an increase in suicide cases, especially among women.
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Connection?
Researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals to determine the connection between suicide and tinnitus (large sample sizes are needed to produce reliable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of respondents.
- 9% of women with significant tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of participants.
The differences in suicide rates between men and women are obvious, leading the experts to call out the heightened dangers for women. These results also suggest that a significant portion of people experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Many people can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Findings Universal?
This study must be duplicated in other areas of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. That being said, we shouldn’t disregard the concern in the meantime.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research indicates an elevated risk of suicide for women with significant tinnitus, the study did not draw clear conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are various reasons why this could be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most individuals who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight cases of tinnitus do not have their own obstacles. But the suicide risk for women was much more marked for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Most of the participants in this study who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is probably the next most surprising conclusion.
This is, possibly, the most important area of possibility and one of the best ways to decrease suicide or other health concerns simultaneously. Here are a few of the numerous advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Individuals who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better regulate their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is commonly a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and managing hearing loss by using hearing aids can help decrease tinnitus symptoms. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are made with extra features to help tinnitus symptoms. To discover if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.