Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health aspect to tinnitus. 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. Regrettably, for some, tinnitus can lead to depression.
According to research carried out by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, chronic tinnitus has been connected to an increase in suicide rates, particularly among women.
What’s The Link Between Suicide And Tinnitus?
So that they can identify any kind of link between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (Accurate, reliable results require large sample sizes).
According to the answers they received:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of respondents.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are clear, leading the researchers to call out the heightened dangers for women. These findings also suggest that a large portion of individuals suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Not only are there treatments for tinnitus, lots of people experience relief by using hearing aids.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be duplicated in different areas 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 could be but the data doesn’t pinpoint any one reason why this might be.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”
Most people who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also have their own obstacles, of course. But the suicide risk for women was much more marked for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.
Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed
Most of the respondents in this research who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is possibly the next most shocking conclusion.
This is perhaps the best way to reduce the danger of suicide and other health concerns related to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall benefits:
- Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
- Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Impairment
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people with tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies indicate that hearing aids help regulate the symptoms of tinnitus. In fact, some hearing aids are made with extra features to improve tinnitus symptoms. Schedule an appointment to find out if hearing aids could help you.