It’s a chicken-or-egg scenario. You have a ringing in your ears. And you’re feeling down because of it. Or perhaps before the ringing started you were already feeling a little depressed. You’re just not sure which started first.
That’s exactly what experts are trying to find out when it comes to the link between tinnitus and depression. It’s pretty well established that there is a link between tinnitus and depressive disorders. Study after study has borne out the notion that one tends to accompany the other. But the cause-and-effect connection is, well, more challenging to determine.
Is Depression Caused by Tinnitus?
One study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders seems to contend that depression may be something of a precursor to tinnitus. Or, to put it a different way: they observed that depression is commonly a more visible first sign than tinnitus. It’s likely, as a result, that we just notice depression first. This study indicates that if someone has been diagnosed with depression, it’s probably a good idea for them to have a tinnitus screening.
Shared pathopsychology could be at the root of both disorders and the two are frequently “comorbid”. Put another way, there might be some shared causes between depression and tinnitus which would cause them to appear together.
But in order to identify what the common cause is, more research will be needed. Because it’s also possible that, in certain situations, tinnitus causes depression; in other situations the opposite is true and in yet others, the two occur at the same time but aren’t connected at all. We can’t, right now, have much confidence in any one theory because we just don’t know enough about what the link is.
Will I Get Depression if I Have Tinnitus?
In part, cause and effect is tough to understand because major depressive conditions can develop for a large number of reasons. There can also be quite a few reasons for tinnitus to manifest. In most cases, tinnitus presents as a ringing or buzzing in your ears. Sometimes with tinnitus, you may hear other noises such as a thumping or beating. Normally, chronic tinnitus, the kind that doesn’t go away after a short period of time, is the result of noise damage over a long period of time.
But chronic tinnitus can have more severe causes. Traumatic brain injuries, as an example, have been known to cause long lasting ringing in the ears. And at times, tinnitus can even happen for no apparent reason whatsoever.
So if you have chronic tinnitus, will you experience depression? The answer is a complicated one to predict because of the variety of causes for tinnitus. But it is evident that your risks will rise if you neglect your tinnitus. The following reasons might help sort it out:
- For many individuals it can be an aggravating and exhausting task to try and cope with the noises of tinnitus that won’t go away.
- You may wind up socially isolating yourself because the ringing and buzzing causes you to have trouble with social communication.
- It can be a difficulty to do things you love, like reading when you have tinnitus.
Dealing With Your Tinnitus
Fortunately, the comorbidity of tinnitus and depression teaches us that we might be able to find respite from one by treating the other. You can minimize your symptoms and stay centered on the positive facets of your life by dealing with your tinnitus making use of treatments including cognitive-behavioral therapy (helping you overlook the sounds) or masking devices (created to drown out the noise).
Treatment can move your tinnitus into the background, to put it in a different way. That means you’ll be capable of keeping up more easily with social situations. You will have a much easier time following your favorite TV show or listening to your favorite music. And your life will have a lot less disturbance.
That won’t eliminate depression in all situations. But managing tinnitus can help according to research.
Don’t Forget, It’s Still Not Clear What The Cause And Effect is
That’s why medical professionals are starting to take a more robust interest in keeping your hearing healthy.
We’re pretty certain that depression and tinnitus are related even though we’re not certain exactly what the relationship is. Whichever one began first, managing tinnitus can have a considerable positive effect. And that’s why this information is important.