Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health aspect to tinnitus. It’s not just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever recede permanently. Sadly, for some people, tinnitus can lead to depression.
According to a study carried out by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, persistent tinnitus has been connected to an increase in suicide cases, particularly with women.
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
So that they can establish any type of link between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are necessary to produce dependable, scientific results).
Here are some of the results:
- 22.5% of the respondents reported having tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of respondents.
The differences in suicide rates between men and women are clear, leading the experts to call out the heightened risks for women. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, many individuals experience relief by using hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be repeated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What Does This Research Mean?
While this research indicates an increased risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study didn’t draw definitive conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are various reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Some things to take note of:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most people who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight cases of tinnitus do not have their own obstacles. But the statistical connection between suicide and women with tinnitus was most pronounced (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
Possibly 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 possibly the best way to reduce the risk of suicide and other health problems connected to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better control their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is frequently a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people with tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies suggest that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. In fact, some hearing aids are made with added features to help tinnitus symptoms. To discover if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.