Millions of people each year experience tinnitus, but only about 20% seek medical attention. People of all ages can experience a ringing in the ear. Depending on the severity of the tinnitus, feelings of depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts can occur. Continue reading to learn more about how to deal with the massive emotional weight that can come with tinnitus.
The Relationship Between Tinnitus & Suicidal Ideation
A study out of South Korea investigated the prevalence of suicidal ideation and behaviors in those with and without tinnitus. The researchers collected data from more than 17,000 individuals through questionnaires assessing the presence and severity of tinnitus, mental health status, including stress and depression, and suicidal ideation and attempts.
The researchers found that 20% of participants with tinnitus reported suicidal ideation, and 1.2% confirmed they had attempted suicide. Those who reported suicidal attempts had a higher proportion of severe, annoying and irritating tinnitus than those who had suicidal ideation.
Tinnitus Feels Relentless
Ursula Whiteside is a clinical psychologist and CEO of a suicide prevention group. She explains, “Not knowing when something is going to end and seeing no escape is a recipe for suicidal thoughts… Suicidal thoughts are a form of escape from painful and prolonged experiences. But there are other ways to manage experiences that are beyond our control.”
Tinnitus is unpredictable. This symptom of an underlying disorder can occur seemingly at random and can last for an extended length of time.
There Are Treatment for Tinnitus
While tinnitus cannot be cured, there are a number of treatment options available to make the condition less bothersome. Common treatment options include:
- Noise suppression therapy
- Masking techniques
- Tinnitus retraining therapy
- Hearing aids
If your tinnitus is starting to impact your mental health, there are people you can speak with. Experts are available through the American Tinnitus Association.
To learn more about the effect tinnitus can have on your mental health or to schedule an appointment with a tinnitus expert, contact Valley Audiology today.