Tinnitus And Suicide: The Facts

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

As with many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only obstacle. It’s coping with the symptoms continuously never knowing for sure if they will subside. Unfortunately, for some people, tinnitus can result in depression.

According to a study carried out by the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, persistent tinnitus has been linked to an increase in suicide rates, particularly among women.

What’s The Link Between Suicide And Tinnitus?

So that they can establish any type of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed about 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are needed to generate dependable, scientific results).

According to the answers they got back:

  • Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of participants.
  • 9% of women with significant tinnitus had attempted suicide.
  • Out of the men with severe tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
  • A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in just 2.1% of respondents.

It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. 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 treatments for tinnitus, many people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.

Are These Universal Findings?

Before any broad generalizations can be made, this study needs to be repeated in different parts of the world with different variables and population sizes. That being said, we shouldn’t disregard the problem in the meantime.

What Does This Research Mean?

While this research indicates an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study did not draw clear conclusions as to why women were at greater risk of suicide than men. There are a variety of possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsic in the data that points towards any of those explanations as more or less likely.

Some things to take note of:

Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”

First and foremost, the vast majority of individuals who have experienced tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also present their own challenges, of course. But the statistical correlation between suicide and women with tinnitus was most evident (and, thus, denotes the biggest risk) with those who described their tinnitus as severe.

Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed

Most of the respondents in this study who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is possibly the next most surprising conclusion.

This is, perhaps, the most important area of opportunity and one of the best ways to lower suicide or other health concerns at the same time. Here are a few of the numerous benefits that can come from tinnitus treatment:

  • Individuals who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
  • Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is often a warning sign.
  • Depression is often improved with tinnitus treatment.

Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment

It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals with tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies indicate that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that address the symptoms of tinnitus. To discover if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.



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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