New research has shown a strong connection between hearing loss and mental health.
Beyond this link, both disorders have something else in common – health professionals and patients often fail to recognize and treat them. Realizing there is a connection could potentially improve mental health for millions of people and provide hope as they seek solutions.
We know that hearing loss is widespread, but only a few studies have dealt with its effect on mental health.
Out of all people who are diagnosed with hearing loss, research shows that over 11 percent of them also have clinical depression. This is noteworthy because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Depression was analyzed by the severity and frequency of the symptoms and a standard questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was used. Individuals who were between 18 and 69 had the highest rate of depression. The author of the study and a scientist at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, saw “a substantial connection between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.
Your Chance of Depression Doubles With Neglected Hearing Loss
Age related hearing loss is very common in older people and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the risk of depression rises the worse the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants were evaluated for depression. This research also reported that the chance of depression almost doubles in individuals with even minor hearing loss. What’s more, many over the age of 70 who suffer from slight hearing loss (which has also been known to increase the chance of cognitive impairment and dementia) aren’t diagnosed or treated. Clearly, there’s a link between the two even though a direct cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been established.
Hearing is essential to being active and communicating efficiently. Hearing problems can result in professional and social blunders that cause anxiety and embarrassment, and potentially loss of self-esteem. Gradual withdrawal can be the outcome if these feelings are not addressed. People withdraw from friends and family and also from physical activity. Over time, this can result in solitude, loneliness – and depression.
Hearing Isn’t Simply About Your Ears
Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its association with depression. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and general health are all affected by your hearing. This shows that within your general healthcare, your hearing professional plays an important part. People with hearing loss frequently deal with exhaustion, confusion, and aggravation.
The good news: The issue can be substantially enhanced by having a hearing test and treatment as soon as you recognize hearing loss symptoms. These risks are considerably 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 diagnose. Caregivers should also look for signs of depression in people who might be dealing with either or both. Exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and general loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.
Don’t suffer alone. If you believe you have hearing loss, call us to schedule a hearing exam.