Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. It isn’t just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s handling the symptoms continuously never knowing for sure if they will go away. For some individuals, sadly, depression can be the outcome.
Persistent tinnitus has been connected to a higher rate of suicide, especially among women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and conducted by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Link?
So that they can identify any kind of link between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 people (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the responses they received:
- 22.5% of the participants reported experiencing tinnitus.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of participants.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are obvious, leading the researchers to bring attention to the heightened dangers for women. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, many people experience relief by using hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be repeated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. In the meantime, we need to take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
The study was inconclusive about why women had an increased suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are various reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t identify any one reason why this might be.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
Most people who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate instances also present their own obstacles, of course. But the suicide risk for women was far more pronounced for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Maybe the next most shocking conclusion in this study is that fairly few people were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they had moderate to severe symptoms.
This is possibly the best way to minimize the risk of suicide and other health problems related to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall benefits:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively controlled with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is often a warning sign.
- Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
Up to 90% of individuals who cope with tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and dealing with hearing loss by using hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. In fact, some hearing aids are designed with extra features to improve tinnitus symptoms. To discover if hearing aids can help you, schedule an appointment.