Tinnitus, like lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health aspect to it. It isn’t just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever recede permanently. For some people, sadly, depression can be the outcome.
According to a study conducted by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, chronic tinnitus has been associated with an increase in suicide rates, especially among women.
Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?
In order to identify any kind of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (large sample sizes are needed to produce dependable, scientific results).
According to the answers they received:
- 22.5% of the participants 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 professional diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of participants.
The differences in suicide rates between women and men are clear, leading the researchers to call out the heightened risks for women. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t have their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Many individuals can get relief by wearing hearing aids and other therapies.
Are These Universal Findings?
Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be replicated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. That said, we shouldn’t ignore the problem in the meantime.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
While this research points to an increased risk of suicide for women with significant tinnitus, the study didn’t draw clear conclusions as to why women had a higher 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:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First and foremost, the vast majority of those who have noticed tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight instances of tinnitus do not have their own obstacles. But the statistical connection between women with tinnitus and suicide was most pronounced (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed
Perhaps the next most startling conclusion in this study is that relatively few people were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.
This is probably the best way to minimize the risk of suicide and other health concerns connected to tinnitus and hearing impairment in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can offer many overall advantages:
- Tinnitus symptoms can be more effectively controlled with treatment.
- Tinnitus is frequently a sign of hearing loss, which can (and should) be treated.
- Some treatments also help with depression.
Tinnitus is Linked to Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of people who suffer from tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies indicate that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are designed with extra features to improve tinnitus symptoms. To learn if hearing aids can help you, make an appointment.