Tinnitus and Depression
The subject of tinnitus and depression is one that is often overlooked by portrayals of the illness in mass media. The correlation between tinnitus and mood disorders such as depression is well established. Presumably, in some patients, there is a causal link between the permanence of the tinnitus tone and the subsequent development of depression. As a brief aside – if you are experiencing the symptoms of depression, please talk to your medical doctor immediately. Depression is a serious medical illness that can have debilitating long term health consequences.
Quotes from William Shatner in this ABC News article allude to a series of depressive symptoms experienced by Shatner following the acute onset of tinnitus. I like to emphasize the Shatner quote because it’s ultimately a story of hope – here’s an individual who, despite encountering severe challenges brought on by tinnitus, eventually overcame them and went on to continue his success in the entertainment industry. Similarly, successful recording artists such as Trent Reznor, of Nine Inch Nails, and Chris Martin, of Coldplay, have also suffered from tinnitus without apparent harm to their career aspirations. That said, these are exceptional, high performing individuals, and it’s not a sign of personal weakness or character deficiency if you are experiencing tinnitus induced depression and wish to seek medical treatment for it. We’ll review this treatment in another article, however, SSRI medications have been shown to be an effective treatment for those who suffer from tinnitus and depression.
Now, there’s evidence that tinnitus severity is positively correlated with depression, which intuitively makes sense. Interestingly, there does not appear to be a statistical correlation between tinnitus loudness and the development of depression – indicating that the development of depression in a person afflicted with tinnitus is likely the product of a multitude of factors.