It’s a chicken-or-egg scenario. You have some ringing in your ears. And you’re feeling down about it. Or maybe before the ringing started you were already feeling a little depressed. You’re just not certain which happened first.
When it comes to the link between depression and tinnitus, that’s precisely what researchers are trying to figure out. It’s pretty well established that there is a connection between depressive disorders and tinnitus. The notion that one often comes with the other has been well established by numerous studies. But it’s far more difficult to understand the exact cause and effect relationship.
Is Depression Caused by Tinnitus?
One study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders appears to say that depression may be somewhat of a precursor to tinnitus. Or, to put it a different way: they found that depression is frequently a more visible first symptom than tinnitus. It’s possible, as a result, that we just notice depression first. In the publication of their study, the researchers indicate that anybody who has a screening for depression may also want to be examined for tinnitus.
Shared pathopsychology may be at the root of both disorders and the two are frequently “comorbid”. Put another way, there could be some common causes between depression and tinnitus which would cause them to occur together.
Needless to say, more research is necessary to determine what that common cause, if it exists, truly is. Because it’s also possible that, in certain cases, tinnitus causes depression; and in other situations, the opposite is true or they occur simultaneously for different reasons. We can’t, right now, have much confidence in any one theory because we just don’t know enough about what the connection is.
If I Have Tinnitus Will I Develop Depression?
Major depressive conditions can occur from many causes and this is one reason it’s tough to pin down a cause and effect relationship. Tinnitus can also develop for many reasons. Tinnitus will usually cause a ringing or buzzing in your ears. Occasionally, the sound changes (a thump, a whump, a variety of other noises), but the root idea is the same. Usually, chronic tinnitus, the type that doesn’t go away after a couple of hours or days, is the result of noise damage over a long period of time.
But chronic tinnitus can have more acute causes. Long lasting ringing in the ears can be caused by traumatic brain injury for example. And at times, tinnitus can even happen for no discernible reason at all.
So will you experience depression if you suffer from chronic tinnitus? The answer is a challenging one to predict because of the variety of causes behind tinnitus. But it is clear that your chances will rise if you ignore your tinnitus. The following reasons may help sort it out:
- The buzzing and ringing can make social communication more difficult, which can lead you to socially separate yourself.
- Tinnitus can make doing some things you love, such as reading, difficult.
- For some people it can be a frustrating and draining undertaking to try and cope with the sounds of tinnitus that won’t go away.
Dealing With Your Tinnitus
What the comorbidity of depression and tinnitus clue us into, thankfully, is that by managing the tinnitus we might be able to offer some respite from the depression (and, possibly, vice versa). You can reduce your symptoms and stay focused on the positive facets of your life by managing your tinnitus making use of treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (helping you ignore the sounds) or masking devices (created to drown out the noise).
To put it another way, treatment can help your tinnitus fade to the background. That means social situations will be easier to stay on top of. You won’t miss out on your favorite music or have a tough time following your favorite TV program. And you’ll notice very little disturbance to your life.
Taking these measures won’t always stop depression. But treating tinnitus can help based upon research.
Don’t Forget, It’s Still Not Clear What The Cause And Effect is
Medical professionals are becoming more focused on keeping your hearing healthy due to this.
We’re pretty certain that depression and tinnitus are linked although we’re not sure exactly what the relationship is. Whether the ringing in your ears or the depression began first, treating your tinnitus can help considerably. And that’s the crucial takeaway.