Woman holding her head from ringing in the ears and looking depressed.

Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. Dealing with the symptoms isn’t the only difficulty. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it on a regular basis without knowing whether they will ever recede for good. For some individuals, unfortunately, depression can be the result.

Chronic tinnitus has been linked to a higher instance of suicide, particularly among women, according to a study 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 type of link between suicide and tinnitus, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are needed to generate reliable, scientific results).

Here are some of the results:

  • Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of participants.
  • 9% of women with extreme tinnitus had attempted suicide.
  • Out of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
  • Just 2.1% of respondents documented that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.

The differences in suicide rates between women and men are clear, leading the experts to call out the heightened dangers for women. These results also suggest that a significant portion of people suffering from tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, lots of individuals experience relief by wearing hearing aids.

Are These Findings Universal?

This study must be replicated in other areas of the world, with different sized populations, and ruling out other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. That said, we shouldn’t disregard the problem in the meantime.

What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?

While this research points to an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study did not draw definitive 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.

Some things to take note of:

Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”

Most individuals who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean moderate or slight instances of tinnitus don’t offer their own obstacles. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more pronounced for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.

Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed

Possibly the next most surprising conclusion in this research is that fairly few individuals were actually diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they displayed moderate to severe symptoms.

This is probably the best way to decrease the risk of suicide and other health problems connected to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. Here are a few of the many benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:

  • Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
  • Tinnitus is frequently a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
  • Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.

Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Impairment

Up to 90% of people who cope with tinnitus also have hearing loss according to some studies and treating hearing loss by using hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. Make an appointment to find out if hearing aids might help you.

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References

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/fullarticle/2732497

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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