Tinnitus, like many chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resiliency to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever recede for good. Sadly, for some people, tinnitus can result in depression.
According to a study conducted by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, persistent tinnitus has been associated with an increase in suicide cases, particularly with women.
What’s The Link Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
Researchers at the SPHC questioned about 70,000 people to establish the link between suicide and tinnitus (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of participants.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are clear, leading the experts to bring attention to the heightened dangers for women. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Many individuals can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Universal Findings?
This research must be replicated in other parts 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 a higher suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are numerous reasons why this could 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 individuals who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight instances of tinnitus do not offer their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more pronounced for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
The majority of the participants in this study who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is perhaps the next most shocking conclusion.
This is, possibly, the most significant area of opportunity and one of the best ways to reduce suicide or other health risks simultaneously. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall advantages:
- People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better regulate their symptoms.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of individuals who experience tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and treating hearing loss by using hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. In fact, some hearing aids are made with extra features to help tinnitus symptoms. To find out if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.