Tinnitus, as with lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. It isn’t just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s handling the symptoms constantly never knowing for sure if they will subside. For some individuals, unfortunately, depression can be the result.
Persistent tinnitus has been associated with a higher instance of suicide, particularly among women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
Researchers at the SPHC questioned around 70,000 people to establish the link between tinnitus and suicide (bigger sample sizes are needed to produce reliable, scientific final results).
According to the responses they received:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported experiencing tinnitus.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of participants.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are obvious, leading the experts to bring attention to the increased risks for women. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, many people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be replicated in other areas of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. That being 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 possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing inherent in the data that points towards any of those explanations as more or less likely.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most individuals who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also present their own challenges, of course. But the statistical correlation between suicide and women with tinnitus was most evident (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
Maybe the next most surprising conclusion in this study is that relatively few people were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they had moderate to severe symptoms.
This is probably the best way to minimize the danger of suicide and other health concerns related to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are some of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better regulate their symptoms.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and treating hearing loss by using hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. To find out if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.