It’s a situation of which one came first the chicken or the egg. You have some ringing in your ears. And it’s making you feel pretty low. Or, perhaps you were feeling a bit depressed before the ringing started. You’re just not certain which started first.
When it comes to the link between tinnitus and depression, that’s exactly what scientists are attempting to figure out. That there is a link between tinnitus and major depressive conditions is fairly well established. The idea that one tends to come with the other has been born out by numerous studies. But it’s far more difficult to recognize the exact cause and effect relationship.
Does Depression Cause Tinnitus?
One study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders seems to say that depression may be something of a precursor to tinnitus. Or, stated another way: They found that you can sometimes recognize an issue with depression before tinnitus becomes obvious. As a result, it’s feasible that we simply notice the depression first. In the publication of their study, the researchers suggest that anyone who goes through a screening for depression might also want to be tested for tinnitus.
The idea is that depression and tinnitus might share a common pathopsychology and be commonly “comorbid”. Which is just a technical way of saying that depression and tinnitus may have some shared causes, and that’s why they show up together so frequently.
But in order to figure out what the common cause is, more research will be needed. Because, in certain situations, it might be possible that depression is actually brought about by tinnitus; in other circumstances the opposite is true and in yet others, the two occur at the same time but aren’t linked at all. We can’t, right now, have much confidence in any one theory because we just don’t know enough about what the connection is.
If I Have Tinnitus Will I Develop Depression?
Major depressive conditions can develop from numerous causes and this is one reason why it’s hard to recognize a cause and effect relationship. Tinnitus can also occur for numerous reasons. Tinnitus usually will cause a buzzing or ringing in your ears. At times, the sound changes (a thump, a whump, a variety of other noises), but the underlying idea is the same. Noise damage over a long period of time is usually the cause of chronic tinnitus that won’t go away.
But chronic tinnitus can have more serious causes. Traumatic brain injuries, for example, have been known to cause long lasting ringing in the ears. And sometimes, tinnitus can even develop for no apparent reason at all.
So if you have chronic tinnitus, will you experience depression? The answer is a challenging one to predict because of the wide array of causes behind tinnitus. But it is evident that your chances will rise if you ignore your tinnitus. The reason might be as follows:
- The sound of the tinnitus, and the fact that it doesn’t go away by itself, can be a challenging and aggravating experience for many.
- You may end up socially isolating yourself because the buzzing and ringing causes you to have difficulty with social communication.
- It can be a challenge to do things you enjoy, such as reading when you suffer from tinnitus.
Treating Your Tinnitus
Luckily, the comorbidity of tinnitus and depression teaches us that we might be able to find relief from one by managing the other. You can minimize your symptoms and stay focused on the positive aspects of your life by dealing with your tinnitus using treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy (helping you overlook the sounds) or masking devices (created to drown out the noise).
Treatment can move your tinnitus into the background, to put it another way. That means social situations will be easier to keep up with. You won’t miss out on your favorite music or have a difficult time following your favorite TV program. And you’ll see very little interruption to your life.
That won’t stop depression in all cases. But research suggests that managing tinnitus can help.
Don’t Forget, It’s Still Not Clear What The Cause And Effect is
Medical professionals are becoming more interested in keeping your hearing healthy because of this.
We’re pretty certain that tinnitus and depression are related although we’re not certain exactly what the relationship is. Whichever one began first, treating tinnitus can have a considerable positive effect. And that’s why this information is important.