Each day, many people struggle to find some relief from the debilitating effects of tinnitus. According to the American Tinnitus Association, 50 million Americans have tinnitus in one or both ears. It is a challenge for healthcare practitioners to give hope to people who endure the daily ringing, buzzing, and whistling noises of tinnitus. A new article regarding tinnitus and suicide is examining the tragic reality of tinnitus driving people to commit suicide.
The recent article provides a relevant look at an issue that affects patients who suffer from tinnitus and hyperacusis. Are these people more likely to experience suicidal and self-harmful notions? Tinnitus sufferers, who went to the National Health Service (NHS) clinics in the United Kingdom to receive treatment for their tinnitus and hyperacusis, gave responses to a series of questions regarding their current mental state. Of the 150 participants, a significant number specified that they had suicidal or self-harmful ideations within the past two weeks. The similarities in their responses and correlations between results from mental health office surveys brought up a critical issue that clinicians need to address when evaluating patients with these conditions: Patients with tinnitus and hyperacusis are at a much higher risk for suicidal and self-harmful ideations, as well as anxiety and depression. The writers found statistically noteworthy direct relationships between negative thoughts and the participants’ scores. The more an individual regarded their tinnitus as unfavorable to their general quality of life, the more probable they were to have had negative feelings in the past two weeks.
It is essential that hearing healthcare professionals be aware that patients with tinnitus and hyperacusis might have negative thoughts, feelings, or other mental illnesses beyond the audiological problems for which they present. Practitioners must provide holistic care by providing these patients with resources, phone numbers, and information. The questionnaires are short and simple and can give hearing healthcare practitioners insight into the current mental state of their patients with tinnitus. Screening can also help the process of referrals to mental health services. Although patients with hearing loss are known to face depression and anxiety, those with tinnitus are at an even higher risk of self-harm. By checking the emotional state of these patients while in the clinic, an opportunity for total patient care will present itself.
If you have tinnitus, it is vital that you schedule an exam with a healthcare provider who focuses on the diagnosis and handling of tinnitus. Once a trigger for tinnitus receives identification, the practitioner can work with you in the management of tinnitus. Tinnitus has no cure, but hearing aids, counseling, sound therapy, and coping techniques can be useful in the control of tinnitus symptoms. Try to reduce stress and protect your hearing from additional damage. Keep a positive outlook and consider joining a support group with other people who have tinnitus. Educate yourself and your family about tinnitus and what triggers the effects of tinnitus. Finally, try to surround yourself with supportive people who can help you handle tinnitus.