There is a solid link between mental health and hearing loss according to new research.
And there’s something else that both of these conditions have in common – they frequently go overlooked and untreated by health professionals and patients. Knowing there is a relationship could potentially enhance mental health for millions of people and provide hope as they look for solutions.
The impact of hearing loss on mental health has only been addressed by a few studies even though hearing loss is very prevalent.
Studies have revealed that over 11 percent of individuals with measurable hearing loss also had signs of clinical depression. Depression was only reported by 5 percent of the general population so this finding is significant. Depression was evaluated by the frequency and severity of the symptoms and a standard questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was used. They discovered depression was most widespread in people between the ages of 18 and 69. The author of the study and a researcher at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, noticed “a substantial connection 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 worse the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants were evaluated for depression. Once more, researchers observed that individuals with even slight hearing loss were almost two times as likely to have depression. In addition, many over the age of 70 who have slight hearing loss (which has also been known to raise the danger of cognitive decline and dementia) aren’t diagnosed or treated. While the studies cannot prove that one causes the other, it is evident that it is a contributor.
In order to communicate efficiently and stay active, hearing is crucial. Anxiety, embarrassment, and potential loss of self-esteem can be the result of the professional and social blunders that come with hearing loss. If not addressed, these feelings can result in a gradual withdrawal. People withdraw from family and friends and also from physical activity. After a while, this can result in solitude, loneliness – and depression.
Hearing Isn’t Just About The 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 demonstrates that within your overall healthcare, your hearing professional is an important part. People with hearing loss frequently struggle with exhaustion, confusion, and frustration.
The good news: Getting professional care and testing at the earliest sign of a hearing issue helps counter this problem. Studies suggest that treating hearing loss early significantly decreases their risk. Regular hearing exams need to be recommended by physicians. Hearing loss isn’t the only thing that a hearing exam can uncover, after all. And with people who may be coping with hearing loss, care providers need to watch for indications of depression. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and general loss of interest and sadness are all symptoms.
Never ignore your symptoms. Give us a call to make an appointment if you believe you may have hearing loss.