Suicide And Tinnitus: The Facts

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

Like many chronic conditions, there’s a mental health element to tinnitus. It isn’t just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s finding the inner fortitude and resilience to do it regularly without knowing whether they will ever recede once and for all. Regrettably, for some people, tinnitus can cause depression.

Chronic tinnitus has been linked to a higher instance of suicide, especially in women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).

Tinnitus And Suicide, What’s The Link?

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

Here are some of the results:

  • 22.5% of the participants reported having tinnitus.
  • Suicide attempts occurred with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
  • Out of the men with significant tinnitus, 5.5% had attempted suicide.
  • Just 2.1% of participants reported that their tinnitus had been diagnosed by a hearing specialist.

The differences in suicide rates between men and women are clear, leading the experts to call out the heightened risks for women. And most individuals with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing professional. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, lots of individuals experience relief by using hearing aids.

Are These Universal Findings?

This research must be duplicated in other parts of the world, with different population sizes, and eliminating other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. That being said, we shouldn’t disregard the problem in the meantime.

What Does This Research Mean?

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 numerous 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”

First and foremost, the vast majority of people who have experienced tinnitus do not have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight instances of tinnitus do not offer their own obstacles. But the suicide risk for women was significantly more marked for women who experienced “severe” tinnitus symptoms.

Low Numbers of Respondents Were Diagnosed

Possibly the next most surprising conclusion in this study is that fairly few individuals were officially diagnosed with tinnitus, even though they had 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. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:

  • Tinnitus symptoms can be more efficiently controlled with treatment.
  • Hearing loss can be treated and tinnitus is commonly a warning sign.
  • Some treatments also help with depression.

Tinnitus And Hearing Impairment

It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals with tinnitus have hearing loss, and studies suggest that hearing aids help control the symptoms of tinnitus. In fact, some hearing aids are made with additional features to help tinnitus symptoms. Schedule an appointment to learn if hearing aids could 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.