Tinnitus And Suicide: The Facts

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

Tinnitus, like lots of chronic conditions, has a mental health aspect to it. It isn’t just a matter of coping with the symptoms. It’s coping with the symptoms continuously never knowing for certain if they will go away. Sadly, for some people, tinnitus can bring about 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 cases, particularly among women.

Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Connection?

Scientists at the SPHC questioned about 70,000 individuals to establish the connection between tinnitus and suicide (large sample sizes are necessary to generate dependable, scientific results).

According to the responses they got back:

  • 22.5% of the respondents reported having tinnitus.
  • Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with severe tinnitus.
  • 5.5% of men with severe tinnitus had attempted suicide.
  • A hearing professional diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of respondents.

The differences in suicide rates between women and men are obvious, leading the experts to call out the heightened dangers for women. These findings also indicate that a significant portion of individuals experiencing tinnitus don’t get a diagnosis or get professional assistance. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, many people experience relief by using hearing aids.

Are These Findings Universal?

Before any broad generalizations can be determined, this study needs to be replicated in different areas of the world with different variables and population sizes. That being said, we shouldn’t ignore the problem in the meantime.

What Does This Research Suggest?

While this research suggests an elevated risk of suicide for women with severe tinnitus, the study didn’t 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 inherent in the data that points towards any of those arguments as more or less likely.

Some things to take note of:

Not All Tinnitus is “Severe”

Most people who experience tinnitus symptoms don’t have “severe” tinnitus. Moderate cases also present their own obstacles, of course. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more marked for women who reported “severe” tinnitus symptoms.

Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed

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

This is perhaps the best way to minimize the risk of suicide and other health concerns related to tinnitus and hearing loss in general. Here are a few of the many advantages that can come from tinnitus treatment:

  • Those who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better manage their symptoms.
  • Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
  • Some treatments also help with depression.

Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment

Up to 90% of individuals who experience tinnitus also have hearing impairment according to some studies and treating hearing loss by using hearing aids can help decrease tinnitus symptoms. In fact, some hearing aids are made with extra features to help tinnitus symptoms. Make an appointment to learn if hearing aids might help you.



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.