Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element 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. For some individuals, sadly, depression can be the result.
According to a study carried out by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, chronic tinnitus has been linked to an increase in suicide rates, especially with women.
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
So that they can identify any type of link between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 people (large sample sizes are necessary to produce dependable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of respondents.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. These findings also suggest that a large portion of people experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, lots of individuals experience relief by using hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be repeated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. In the meantime, we need to take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
The study was inconclusive about why women had a higher suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are numerous possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsic in the data that points towards any of those explanations as more or less likely.
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 modest or slight cases of tinnitus don’t offer their own obstacles. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more pronounced for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Maybe the next most surprising conclusion in this study is that relatively few individuals were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they presented moderate to severe symptoms.
This is probably the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health concerns connected to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. Here are a few of the many benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- 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 indicate that hearing aids help regulate the symptoms of tinnitus. In fact, some hearing aids are made with extra features to improve tinnitus symptoms. To find out if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.