Tinnitus, like lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only difficulty. It’s finding the inner strength and resiliency to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever recede permanently. Regrettably, for some, tinnitus can result in depression.
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 linked to an increase in suicide rates, especially with women.
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
So that they can identify any type of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are necessary to produce dependable, scientific results).
According to the responses they received:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of respondents.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
- Of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of participants.
The differences in suicide rates between men and women are clear, leading the researchers to call out the heightened dangers for women. These findings also suggest that a large portion of people experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Many individuals can get relief by using hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be repeated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. That said, we shouldn’t disregard the problem in the meantime.
What Does This Research Suggest?
The study was inconclusive about why women had an increased suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are numerous reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t identify any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of people who have experienced tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight cases of tinnitus do not offer their own obstacles. But the statistical correlation between women with tinnitus and suicide was most evident (and, thus, denotes the greatest 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 probably the next most surprising conclusion.
This is, possibly, the most important area of opportunity and one of the best ways to decrease suicide or other health risks simultaneously. Here are a few of the numerous advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is often a warning sign.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals who suffer from tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies suggest that hearing aids help regulate the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. To find out if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.