Hearing Aids can help minimize the negative consequence of the common condition of hearing loss. Still, a lot of hearing loss goes undiscovered and neglected – and that can lead to higher depression rates and feelings of solitude in people with hearing loss.
And it can spiral into a vicious circle where solitude and depression from hearing loss bring about a breakdown in work and personal relationship resulting in even worse depression and solitude. Treating hearing loss is the key to preventing this unnecessary cycle.
Research Connects Hearing Loss to Depression
Researchers have found in several studies that neglected hearing loss is connected to the progression of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new phenomenon. Symptoms of anxiety, depression, and paranoia were, as reported by one study, more likely to affect individuals over 50 who have neglected hearing loss. And it was also more likely that that group would withdraw from social engagement. Many couldn’t understand why it seemed like people were getting mad at them. However, relationships were improved for those who wore hearing aids, who reported that friends, family, and co-workers all recognized the difference.
A more intense sense of depression is encountered, as documented by a different study, by individuals who suffered from a 25 decibel or higher hearing impairment. Individuals over 70 with a self-diagnosed hearing loss did not demonstrate a major difference in depression rates compared to people who didn’t suffer from hearing loss. But that still indicates that a significant part of the population is not getting the help they require to better their lives. And people who took part in another study reported that those participants who managed their hearing loss with hearing aids had a lower rate of depression.
ignorance or Unwillingness to Wear Hearing Aids Impacts Mental Health
It would seem obvious that with these kinds of outcomes people would wish to get assistance with their hearing loss. However, two factors have prevented people from getting help. Some people assume that their hearing is working just fine when it actually isn’t. They think that people are purposely speaking quietly or mumbling. Also, it’s quite common for people to be clueless about their hearing impairment. To them, it seems like other people get tired of talking to them.
It’s imperative that anybody who has experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety, or the sense that they are being left out of interactions due to people talking too quietly or mumbling too much, get their hearing examined. If there is hearing loss, that person should talk about which hearing aid is right for them. Consulting a good hearing specialist may be all that is needed to feel a whole lot better.