Tinnitus And Suicide: The Facts

HEARING TIPS

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

Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health component to tinnitus. Coping with the symptoms isn’t the only challenge. It’s handling the symptoms constantly never knowing for certain if they will go away. For some people, unfortunately, 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, persistent tinnitus has been connected to an increase in suicide cases, especially among women.

What’s The Link Between Suicide And Tinnitus?

In order to establish any type of connection between tinnitus and suicide, researchers at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 individuals (bigger sample sizes are necessary to generate dependable, scientific final results).

According to the answers they got back:

  • 22.5% of the respondents reported having tinnitus.
  • Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
  • 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had suicide attempts.
  • Just 2.1% of respondents reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing professional.

It’s clear that women with tinnitus have a higher rate of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Many individuals can get relief by using hearing aids and other treatments.

Are These Findings Universal?

This study must be duplicated in other areas of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can make any broad generalizations. In the meantime, we need to take these findings seriously.

What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?

While this research points to 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 numerous possible explanations, of course, but there’s nothing intrinsic in the data that points towards any of those explanations as more or less likely.

Here are some things to pay attention to:

Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”

Most individuals who notice tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight instances of tinnitus don’t present their own obstacles. But the suicide risk for women was much more marked for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.

Most of The Respondents Weren’t Diagnosed

The majority of the participants in this study who reported moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is possibly the next most shocking conclusion.

This is probably the best way to decrease the risk of suicide and other health problems linked to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:

  • People who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
  • Tinnitus is often a sign of hearing impairment, which can (and should) be treated.
  • Some treatments also help with depression.

Tinnitus is Connected to Hearing Impairment

It’s estimated that 90 percent of people who suffer from tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies indicate that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. Some hearing aids, in fact, actually come with features that target the symptoms of tinnitus. Make an appointment to learn if hearing aids could 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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