Tinnitus, as with lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health aspect to it. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. It’s finding the inner strength and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever recede once and for all. For some people, sadly, depression can be the result.
According to research carried out 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 rates, particularly among women.
What’s The Link Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
In order to establish any type of link between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (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 suicide attempts.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of participants.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are obvious, leading the researchers to call out the increased dangers for women. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Many individuals can get relief by using hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Findings Universal?
This study must be duplicated in other parts of the world, with different population sizes, and ruling out other variables before we can make 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 certainly the result. There are a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing inherent in the data that singles out any of those explanations as more or less likely.
Some things to take note of:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most people who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight instances of tinnitus don’t have their own obstacles. But the statistical correlation between suicide and women with tinnitus was most pronounced (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
The majority of the respondents in this study who reported 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 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 benefits:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively controlled with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people with tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies suggest that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. In fact, some hearing aids are made with additional features to help tinnitus symptoms. To find out if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.