It’s a scenario of which one came first the chicken or the egg. You have a ringing in your ears. And you’re feeling down about it. Or, perhaps you were feeling a bit depressed before the ringing began. You’re just not certain which started first.
That’s precisely what researchers are trying to find out regarding the connection between depression and tinnitus. It’s pretty well established that there is a connection between depressive disorders and tinnitus. The idea that one tends to come with the other has been born out by many studies. 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 a precursor to tinnitus may be depression. Or, said a different way: they observed that depression is frequently a more visible first symptom than tinnitus. As a result, it’s feasible that we simply observe the depression first. This research indicates that if somebody has been diagnosed with depression, it’s definitely a good idea for them to get a tinnitus screening.
Common pathopsychology may be the base cause of both disorders and the two are commonly “comorbid”. In other words, there could be some shared causes between depression and tinnitus which would cause them to occur together.
But in order to identify what the common cause is, more research will be required. Because it’s also feasible that, in certain cases, tinnitus causes depression; and in other situations, the reverse 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 link is.
Will I Experience Depression if I Suffer From Tinnitus?
In part, cause and effect is hard to understand because major depressive disorder can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Tinnitus can also occur for numerous reasons. Tinnitus normally will cause a ringing or buzzing in your ears. Occasionally, the sound changes (a thump, a whump, a variety of other noises), but the root concept is the same. Noise damage over a long period of time is normally the cause of chronic tinnitus that is probably permanent.
But there can be more acute causes for chronic tinnitus. Traumatic brain injuries, for example, have been recognized to cause long lasting ringing in the ears. And tinnitus can happen sometimes with no evident cause.
So if you have chronic tinnitus, will you experience depression? The wide variety of causes of tinnitus can make that tough to predict. But it is evident that your risks will rise if you ignore your tinnitus. The following reasons might help make sense of it:
- The buzzing and ringing can make social communication more difficult, which can lead you to socially isolate yourself.
- It can be a challenge to do things you love, such as reading when you have tinnitus.
- For some individuals it can be an annoying and exhausting task to attempt to cope with the sounds of tinnitus that won’t go away.
Treating Your Tinnitus
Luckily, the comorbidity of tinnitus and depression teaches us that we might be able to get relief from one by managing the other. From cognitive-behavioral therapy (which is created to help you disregard the sounds) to masking devices (which are created to drown out the noise of your tinnitus), the correct treatment can help you decrease your symptoms and stay centered on the joy in your life.
Treatment can push your tinnitus into the background, to put it in a different way. Meaning that you’ll be capable of keeping up more easily with social activities. You will have an easier time following your favorite TV show or listening to your favorite music. And you’ll see very little interruption to your life.
That won’t stop depression in all cases. But treating tinnitus can help based upon research.
Remember, Cause And Effect Isn’t Apparent
Medical professionals are becoming more interested in keeping your hearing healthy due to this.
We’re pretty confident that tinnitus and depression are related even though we’re not sure exactly what the relationship is. Whichever one began first, treating tinnitus can have a considerable positive effect. And that’s the important takeaway.