It’s a chicken-or-egg situation. You have a ringing in your ears. And it’s causing you to feel pretty low. Or perhaps before the ringing started you were already feeling somewhat depressed. You’re just not certain which happened first.
That’s precisely what scientists are trying to find out when it comes to the link between tinnitus and depression. That there is a connection between tinnitus and major depressive disorders is rather well established. Study after study has shown that one often accompanies the other. But it’s far more difficult to recognize 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 might be something of a precursor to tinnitus. Or, to put it a different way: They noticed that you can at times identify a problem with depression before tinnitus becomes apparent. It’s possible, as a result, that we simply notice depression first. In the publication of their study, the researchers suggest that anybody who undergoes screening for depression might also want to be tested for tinnitus.
Common pathopsychology could be the base cause of both disorders and the two are frequently “comorbid”. Put another way, there might be some common causes between depression and tinnitus which would cause them to occur together.
Of course, more research is required to determine what that common cause, if it exists, actually is. Because, in certain situations, it might be possible that depression is actually brought about by tinnitus; in other circumstances the opposite is true and in yet others, the two occur at the same time but aren’t connected at all. We can’t, at this point, have much confidence in any one theory because we simply don’t know enough about what the link is.
Will I Get Depression if I Suffer From Tinnitus?
Major depressive disorders can occur from numerous causes and this is one reason it’s hard to pin down a cause and effect relationship. There can also be numerous reasons for tinnitus to manifest. In many cases, tinnitus manifests as a buzzing or ringing in your ears. Occasionally, the sound varies (a thump, a whump, various other noises), but the main idea is the same. Noise damage over a long period of time is usually the cause of chronic tinnitus that won’t go away.
But chronic tinnitus can have more severe causes. Long lasting ringing in the ears is sometimes caused by traumatic brain injury for example. And at times, tinnitus can even develop for no discernible reason at all.
So will you experience depression if you have chronic tinnitus? The answer is a difficult one to predict because of the range of causes behind tinnitus. But it is evident that your chances will rise if you ignore your tinnitus. The following reasons may help make sense of it:
- Tinnitus can make doing certain things you take pleasure in, like reading, difficult.
- You may end up socially isolating yourself because the buzzing and ringing causes you to have problems with social communication.
- The noises of the tinnitus, and the fact that it won’t go away on its own, can be a challenging and aggravating experience for many.
Dealing With Your Tinnitus
Fortunately, the comorbidity of depression and tinnitus teaches us that we might be able to get relief from one by managing the other. You can decrease your symptoms and stay centered on the positive aspects of your life by addressing your tinnitus making use of treatments including cognitive-behavioral therapy (helping you ignore the sounds) or masking devices (created to drown out the noise).
Treatment can move your tinnitus into the background, to put it in a different way. That means social activities will be easier to keep up with. You will have a much easier time following your favorite TV program or listening to your favorite tunes. And you’ll notice very little interruption to your life.
Taking these measures won’t always stop depression. But research suggests that managing tinnitus can help.
Don’t Forget, It’s Still Unclear What The Cause And Effect is
Medical professionals are becoming more focused on keeping your hearing healthy due to this.
At this juncture, we’re still in a chicken and egg scenario when it comes to depression and tinnitus, but we’re pretty certain that the two are connected. Whether the ringing in your ears or the depression started first, treating your tinnitus can help significantly. And that’s the crucial takeaway.