Tinnitus and suicide: An unresolved relation

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Annett Szibor *
Antti Mäkitie
Antti A. Aarnisalo
(*) Corresponding Author:
Annett Szibor | ext-annett.szibor@hus.fi


Tinnitus is an auditory phantom sensation which can be a devastating condition for the affected person causing annoyance and discomfort. It may be associated with psychiatric conditions. Patients with highly annoying tinnitus and different comorbidities may have a higher risk of expressing suicidal behaviour and ideation. We aimed to review available reports on the prevalence of suicide and suicidal behaviour with tinnitus patients in order to collate current concepts and to identify possible alarming signs and risk factors. A comprehensive search for appropriate studies listed in PubMed, Ovid and Cochrane databases was conducted using appropriate keyword combinations. We identified 22 publications including original articles, case reports and reviews of which 10 fit our stringent search criteria. Most importantly, from the present studies it appears not feasible to univocally conclude on the co-incidence of tinnitus and suicide. This is due to methodological differences in these approaches, complex interrelations between tinnitus and other psychiatric comorbidities and confounding factors such as the inclusion of patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. More concerted actions involving different medical disciplines are needed to reflect the ethiological heterogeneity of tinnitus and suicide or suicidal behaviour to test for a relationship.

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