As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. It isn’t just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner strength and resiliency to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever go away for good. Sadly, for some people, tinnitus can result in depression.
According to a study conducted by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, chronic tinnitus has been linked to an increase in suicide cases, especially among women.
What’s The Connection Between Tinnitus And Suicide?
So that they can establish any kind of link 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 severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Just 2.1% of participants documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are attempting to raise awareness for them. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Many people can get relief by using hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Universal Findings?
This research must be replicated in other areas of the world, with different sized populations, 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?
The study was inconclusive about why women had a higher suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are numerous reasons why this could be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of people who have noticed tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also present their own obstacles, of course. But the statistical correlation between women with tinnitus and suicide was most evident (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
Maybe the next most surprising conclusion in this research is that relatively few individuals were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is perhaps the best way to decrease the danger of suicide and other health concerns linked to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are some of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Individuals who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better regulate their symptoms.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies suggest that hearing aids help regulate the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are designed with additional features to help tinnitus symptoms. To discover if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.