There is a strong correlation between mental health and hearing loss according to new research.
And there’s something else that both of these conditions have in common – patients and health professionals often fail to acknowledge and treat them. Knowing there is a connection could potentially improve mental health for millions of people and offer hope as they look for solutions.
We know that hearing loss is widespread, but only a handful of studies have addressed its effect on mental health.
Out of all people who are diagnosed with hearing loss, studies show that over 11 percent of them also deal with clinical depression. Depression was only reported by 5 percent of the general population so this finding is noteworthy. Basic questionnaires were based on self-reporting of hearing loss and considered depression based on the frequency and severity of symptoms. People who were between 18 and 69 had the highest instance of depression. The author of the study and a scientist at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, noticed “a substantial association between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.
Your Risk of Depression Doubles With Neglected Hearing Loss
Age related hearing loss is very common in older individuals and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the chance of depression goes up the more severe the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants took an evaluation for depression. This study also revealed that the chance of depression almost doubles in individuals with even minor hearing loss. Even more startling, mild hearing loss frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated by many individuals over 70 which has also been shown to raise the danger of cognitive decline and dementia. While the research doesn’t prove that one causes the other, it is obvious that it is a contributor.
In order to communicate efficiently and stay active, hearing is essential. Embarrassment, anxiety, and potential loss of self-esteem can be the consequence of the social and professional blunders that come with hearing loss. Gradual withdrawal can be the outcome if these feelings are left unaddressed. People begin to steer clear of physical activity and seclude themselves from friends and family. After a while, this can result in solitude, loneliness – and depression.
Hearing Isn’t Only About The Ears
Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its connection with depression. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and overall health are all affected by your hearing. This highlights the vital role of the hearing care professional within the scope of general healthcare. People with hearing loss often deal with exhaustion, confusion, and frustration.
The good news: The issue can be significantly enhanced by getting a hearing test and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. These risks are greatly decreased, according to studies, with early treatment. It is vital that physicians advise routine hearing tests. After all, hearing loss is not the only thing a hearing exam can detect. And with people who might be dealing with hearing loss, caregivers need to look for indications of depression. Exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and overall loss of interest and sadness are all symptoms.
Never ignore your symptoms. Give us a call to make an appointment if you believe you might have hearing loss.
NEW WEBINAR: Depression, Hearing Loss, and Treatment with Hearing Aids