As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health aspect to tinnitus. It isn’t just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner strength and resiliency to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever go away once and for all. For some individuals, sadly, depression can be the result.
Persistent tinnitus has been associated with a higher instance of suicide, particularly among women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
What’s The Connection Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
So that they can identify any kind 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 respondents.
- 9% of women with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
- Of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
- Just 2.1% of participants documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Many people can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be repeated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. That said, we shouldn’t disregard the concern 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 reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t identify any one reason why this might be.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
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 don’t have their own challenges. But the suicide risk for women was far more pronounced for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Participants Were Diagnosed
Possibly the next most startling conclusion in this study is that relatively few people were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they had moderate to severe symptoms.
This is, possibly, the most important area of opportunity and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health concerns simultaneously. Here are a few of the numerous advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies indicate that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are designed with added features to improve tinnitus symptoms. Schedule an appointment to learn if hearing aids could help you.