Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health aspect to tinnitus. It isn’t just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner strength and resilience to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. Regrettably, for some people, tinnitus can cause depression.
Persistent tinnitus has been associated with a higher rate of suicide, particularly in women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Connection Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
So that they can establish any kind of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported having tinnitus.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are obvious, leading the researchers to call out the increased dangers for women. These findings also suggest that a large portion of people suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Many people can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be duplicated in other areas of the world, with different sized populations, and ruling out other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. That said, we shouldn’t disregard the concern in the meantime.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research indicates an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study didn’t draw definitive conclusions as to why women had a higher risk of suicide than men. There are various reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
First and foremost, the vast majority of people who have experienced tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also have their own challenges, of course. But the suicide risk for women was far more pronounced for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
The majority of the respondents in this research who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is probably the next most surprising conclusion.
This is possibly the best way to minimize the risk of suicide and other health concerns linked to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall benefits:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
- Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies suggest that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are designed with additional features to improve tinnitus symptoms. To find out if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.