The U.S. is experiencing a suicide crisis. Recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the national suicide rate increased by 33 percent between 1999 and 2017, making suicide the second-leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 35. With such jarring statistics, it’s crucial to address the underlying causes leading Americans to take their own lives. One such cause may come as a surprise: tinnitus. Tinnitus is the conscious awareness of buzzing or ringing in your ears, and it’s extremely common. In fact, as many as 2 million Americans suffer from chronic tinnitus that makes it difficult for them to function on a day-to-day basis. Even worse, many sufferers aren’t aware of the treatment options available and eventually finding themselves battling anxiety and depression. Tinnitus and suicide is an all-too-common combination – however, there is hope.
What Causes Tinnitus?Tinnitus has several causes, but the most common is prolonged exposure to loud sounds that leads to noise-induced hearing loss. Up to 90 percent of sufferers have some level of noise-induced hearing loss as a result of permanent damage to the inner ear. People who encounter loud sounds at work – for example, carpenters, pilots, musicians, and landscapers – are especially at risk. Sudden exposure to an extremely loud noise like an explosion can also lead to it. Other possible causes include the following:
- Blockages of the ear due to a buildup of wax, an ear infection, or a benign tumor on the auditory nerve.
- Drugs including aspirin, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, sedatives, and antidepressants.
- Ménière’s disease, which affects the inner part of the ear.
- Injuries to the head and neck.
- Other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, anemia, allergies, an underactive thyroid gland, autoimmune disease, and diabetes.