Tinnitus, as with lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health component to it. 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 permanently. For some individuals, sadly, depression can be the outcome.
According to research conducted 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 cases, especially among women.
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
In order to identify any type of link between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are needed to produce reliable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the participants reported experiencing tinnitus.
- 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of participants.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher instance 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 individuals can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be duplicated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. That being said, we shouldn’t ignore 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 certainly 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 those who have experienced tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight cases of tinnitus don’t present their own challenges. 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
Most of the respondents in this study who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is possibly the next most surprising conclusion.
This is probably the best way to minimize the danger of suicide and other health problems related to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. Here are some of the many benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better control their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people with 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 made with additional features to help tinnitus symptoms. To find out if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.