Tinnitus, like lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. It’s not just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resiliency to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever go away for good. For some people, unfortunately, depression can be the outcome.
Persistent tinnitus has been linked to a higher rate of suicide, especially in women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and carried out by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Connection Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
So that they can establish any kind of connection between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 people (large sample sizes are necessary to produce reliable, scientific results).
According to the answers they got back:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported experiencing tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Out of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of participants.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are clear, leading the researchers to call out the increased risks for women. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, lots of individuals experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
This study must be replicated in other areas of the world, with different population sizes, and ruling out other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What Does This Research Suggest?
While this research points to an elevated risk of suicide for women with significant tinnitus, the study didn’t draw definitive conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. There are numerous possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsic in the data that singles out any of those arguments as more or less likely.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most people who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also have their own challenges, of course. But the statistical connection between women with tinnitus and suicide was most evident (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
Most of the respondents in this study who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is possibly the next most shocking conclusion.
This is perhaps the best way to reduce the risk of suicide and other health problems related to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. Here are some of the many advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and dealing with hearing loss by using hearing aids can help decrease tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. To discover if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.