Tinnitus, like lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health element to it. it isn’t just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for sure if they will subside. For some people, unfortunately, depression can be the outcome.
Persistent tinnitus has been linked to a higher instance of suicide, especially in women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Link?
In order to establish any type of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
Here are some of the results:
- Tinnitus symptoms were described by 22.5% of participants.
- Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Out of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of respondents.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are clear, leading the experts to call out the increased risks for women. These findings also suggest that a large portion of people experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Many people can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other treatments.
Are These Findings Universal?
This study must be duplicated in other areas of the world, with different sized populations, and ruling out other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. 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 definitely the result. There are numerous possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing inherent in the data that points towards any of those explanations as more or less likely.
Some things to take note of:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First and foremost, the vast majority of individuals who have noticed tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also present their own challenges, of course. But the suicide risk for women was far more marked for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Possibly the next most startling conclusion in this study is that fairly few people were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is probably the best way to decrease the danger of suicide and other health problems related to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. Here are a few of the numerous advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively managed with treatment.
- Tinnitus is commonly a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals with tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies indicate that hearing aids help regulate the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually have features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. To learn if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.