Tinnitus, Suicide, and Suicidal Ideation: A Scoping Review of Primary Research

Carol MacDonald, Charlotte Caimino, Georgina Burns-O'Connell, Douglas Hartley, Joanna Lockwood, Magdalena Sereda, William Whitmer, Rilana Cima, Laura Turton, Derek J. Hoare

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Tinnitus (the perception of sound in the absence of any corresponding external source) is highly prevalent and can be distressing. There are unanswered questions about how tinnitus, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal behaviours co-occur and interact. To establish the extent of scientific literature, this scoping review catalogued primary reports addressing the associations between tinnitus, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, and death by suicide. We searched OvidSP, Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Google Scholar, EThoS, and ProQuest for all studies and case reports on ideation and/or attempted and/or completed suicide in the context of tinnitus. Twenty-three studies were included, and data were charted according to study type. Several epidemiological and other observational studies gave evidence of risk factors and an association between suicidal ideation, suicidal behaviour, and tinnitus. However, there was no evidence of the direction of causality. Qualitative studies are indicated to explore the patient’s experience and understand the dynamics of any interaction between tinnitus and suicidal thoughts and behaviours. A theory-informed model of tinnitus and suicide needs to be developed to inform the development of interventions and how tinnitus patients are supported clinically.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1496
Number of pages26
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Funding & Acknowledgments: C.M., M.S., D.H. and D.J.H. receive infrastructure funding from the National Institute for Health and Social Care Research (NIHR), however the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHR, the NHS, or the National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence. J.L. acknowledges the support of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Digital Youth Programme award [MRC project reference MR/W002450/1] which is part of the AHRC/ESRC/MRC Adolescence, Mental Health and the Developing Mind programme, and NIHR MindTech MedTech Co-operative.


  • suicidal behaviour
  • suicidal ideation
  • suicidal thoughts
  • suicide
  • tinnitus


Dive into the research topics of 'Tinnitus, Suicide, and Suicidal Ideation: A Scoping Review of Primary Research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this