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It’s a chicken-or-egg scenario. You have a ringing in your ears. And you’re feeling down because of it. Or, perhaps you were feeling somewhat depressed before that ringing began. You’re just not certain which happened first.

When it comes to the connection between depression and tinnitus, that’s exactly what researchers are trying to find out. That there is a link between tinnitus and major depressive conditions is pretty well established. The idea that one often comes with the other has been born out by numerous studies. But it’s much more difficult to recognize the exact cause and effect relationship.

Does Depression Cause 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 another way: they found that depression is frequently a more visible first symptom than tinnitus. It’s possible, as a result, that we simply notice depression first. This research suggests that if somebody has been diagnosed with depression, it’s definitely a good idea for them to get a tinnitus screening.

Common pathopsychology might be at the root of both disorders and the two are commonly “comorbid”. Which is just a technical way of saying that depression and tinnitus might have some shared causes, and that’s why they show up together so often.

Needless to say, more research is required to figure out what that shared cause, if it exists, truly is. Because it’s also feasible that, in certain circumstances, tinnitus causes depression; in other circumstances the reverse is true and in yet others, the two appear at the same time but aren’t linked at all. We can’t, at this point, have much confidence in any one theory because we just don’t know enough about what the link is.

If I Have Tinnitus Will I Experience Depression?

In part, cause and effect is hard to understand because major depressive conditions can happen for a large number of reasons. There can also be a number of reasons for tinnitus to occur. In many cases, tinnitus presents as a buzzing or ringing in your ears. Occasionally with tinnitus, you may hear other noises like a thumping or beating. Noise damage over a long period of time is usually the cause of chronic tinnitus that won’t go away.

But there can be more serious causes for chronic tinnitus. Traumatic brain injuries, as an example, have been known to cause permanent ringing in the ears. And tinnitus can happen sometimes with no apparent cause.

So if you suffer from chronic tinnitus, will you develop depression? The variety of causes behind tinnitus can make that difficult to know. But it is evident that your risks will rise if you ignore your tinnitus. The reason might be as follows:

  • For some people it can be an annoying and exhausting undertaking to try and cope with the noises of tinnitus that won’t go away.
  • Tinnitus can make doing some things you take pleasure in, like reading, challenging.
  • You may wind up socially separating yourself because the ringing and buzzing causes you to have problems with interpersonal communication.

Treating Your Tinnitus

Luckily, the comorbidity of depression and tinnitus teaches us that we may be able to find respite from one by managing the other. You can decrease your symptoms and stay focused on the positive facets of your life by addressing your tinnitus utilizing treatments including cognitive-behavioral therapy (helping you disregard the sounds) or masking devices (created to drown out the noise).

Treatment can push your tinnitus into the background, to put it another way. That means social situations will be easier to keep up with. You won’t lose out on your favorite music or have a difficult time following your favorite TV show. And your life will have much less interruption.

Taking these measures won’t always stop depression. But treating tinnitus can help according to research.

Remember, Cause And Effect Isn’t Apparent

That’s why medical professionals are beginning to take a stronger interest in keeping your hearing in good condition.

We’re pretty confident that depression and tinnitus are related even though we’re not sure exactly what the connection is. Whichever one began first, managing tinnitus can have a considerable positive effect. And that’s why this information is important.

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