Tinnitus (pronounced either TIN-ittis or tin-EYE-tuss) is a condition in which the victim hears sounds that others cannot perceive. Sufferers describe these noises as chirping, humming, hissing, buzzing, whistling, roaring or ringing. The trouble with tinnitus is that it is very challenging to treat.
Trouble with Tinnitus Linked to Suicide Attempts in Women:
A new study from Sweden analyzed data on over 71,000 people living in Stockholm. Women with tinnitus were 15 percent more likely than those with no symptoms to consider or attempt suicide (JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, online May 2, 2019). Those with severe symptoms were twice as likely to attempt suicide as those with a mild condition.
Oddly, people who had a formal diagnosis of tinnitus were not at increased risk of suicide. However, doctors had diagnosed only one in five people with such symptoms as having tinnitus. Moreover, men with tinnitus were no more likely than those without the condition to try to kill themselves. The researchers suggest that doctors should pay more attention to helping people, especially women, having trouble with tinnitus manage their discomfort from this invisible condition.
“Furthermore, additional research is needed to understand the pathophysiological differences between men and women with tinnitus.”
What Can You Do About Tinnitus?
Sometimes people with tinnitus try to mask the sound with white noise generated by a machine. This may help ease trouble with tinnitus temporarily, but research suggests that over the long run it does more harm than good. Some scientists believe that the most promising approach is to retrain the brain so that it no longer creates or perceives noises that aren’t objectively present in the environment. Several years ago, we discussed such an approach with scientists investigating a device to assist in such retraining. You may wish to listen to Show 808: New Approaches to Treating Tinnitus (Archive).