It’s a chicken-or-egg scenario. You have some ringing in your ears. And you’re feeling down about it. Or, perhaps you were feeling a little depressed before the ringing started. Which one came first is just not certain.
When it comes to the connection between depression and tinnitus, that’s exactly what scientists are attempting to find out. That there is a link between tinnitus and major depressive conditions is rather well established. Many studies have shown that one tends to accompany the other. But the cause-and-effect connection is, well, more difficult to determine.
Is Depression Caused by Tinnitus?
One study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders appears to contend that a precursor to tinnitus might be depression. Or, stated a different way: They found that you can at times recognize an issue with depression before tinnitus becomes obvious. As a result, it’s feasible that we simply notice the depression first. This research suggests that if someone has been diagnosed with depression, it’s definitely a good idea for them to get a tinnitus screening.
Common pathopsychology may be the base cause of both disorders and the two are commonly “comorbid”. Which is just a technical way of saying that depression and tinnitus might have some shared causes, and that’s the reason why they show up together so frequently.
But in order to determine what the common cause is, more research will be necessary. Because it’s also feasible that, in certain situations, tinnitus results in depression; and in other situations, the reverse is true or they appear simultaneously for different reasons. We can’t, right now, have much confidence in any one theory because we just don’t know enough about what the connection is.
Will I Get Depression if I Have Tinnitus?
In part, cause and effect is tough to pin down because major depressive disorder can develop for a large number of reasons. Tinnitus can also occur for a number of reasons. In most cases, tinnitus manifests as a buzzing or ringing in your ears. Occasionally with tinnitus, you may hear other noises including a thumping or beating. Noise damage over a long period of time is normally the cause of chronic tinnitus that won’t go away.
But there can be more acute causes for chronic tinnitus. Traumatic brain injuries, for example, have been recognized to cause permanent ringing in the ears. And tinnitus can happen sometimes with no evident cause.
So will you experience depression if you have chronic tinnitus? The answer is a complicated one to predict because of the range of causes behind tinnitus. But it is clear that your chances increase if you ignore your tinnitus. The reason might be the following:
- Tinnitus can make doing certain things you enjoy, like reading, challenging.
- The buzzing and ringing can make social communication harder, which can lead you to socially isolate yourself.
- For some individuals it can be an annoying and exhausting task to try and deal with the noises of tinnitus that won’t go away.
Dealing With Your Tinnitus
What the comorbidity of depression and tinnitus clue us into, luckily, is that by treating the tinnitus we may be able to offer some respite from the depression (and, possibly, vice versa). You can decrease your symptoms and stay focused on the positive facets of your life by addressing your tinnitus utilizing treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (helping you disregard the sounds) or masking devices (created to drown out the noise).
To put it another way, treatment can help your tinnitus fade to the background. That means social situations will be easier to keep up with. You will have an easier time following your favorite TV program or listening to your favorite music. And your life will have a lot less disturbance.
Taking these measures won’t always stop depression. But research indicates that managing tinnitus can help.
Don’t Forget, It’s Still Unclear What The Cause And Effect is
Medical professionals are becoming more interested in keeping your hearing healthy because of this.
We’re pretty certain that depression and tinnitus are related although we’re not certain exactly what the relationship is. Whether the ringing in your ears or the depression began first, managing your tinnitus can help considerably. And that’s the crucial takeaway.