Man with untreated hearing loss depressed and looking out the window.

There is a strong correlation between mental health and hearing loss according to new studies.

Besides this link, both disorders have something else in common – health professionals and patients often fail to acknowledge and address them. For millions of people who are seeking solutions to mental health issues, recognizing this connection could lead to potential improvements.

The effect of hearing loss on mental health has only been dealt with by a few studies even though hearing loss is very prevalent.

Studies have found that more than 11 percent of people 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. Basic questionnaires were based on self-reporting of hearing loss and assessed depression based on the frequency and severity of symptoms. People who were between 18 and 69 had the highest rate of depression. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a scientist at NICDC and the author of this study, found “a significant link between profound depression and hearing loss”.

Your Risk of Depression Doubles With Untreated Hearing Loss

Another study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, revealed that people with age-related hearing loss (a very common chronic condition in the elderly) experienced more signs of depression and the worse the hearing loss – the higher the chance of depression. Participants were assessed for depression after taking an audiometric hearing test. Once more, researchers found that people with even slight hearing loss were almost two times as likely to have depression. Even more alarming, mild hearing loss often goes undiagnosed and untreated by many people over 70 which has also been shown to raise the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Obviously, there’s a connection between the two even though a strong cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been established.

Hearing is crucial to being active and communicating successfully. Embarrassment, anxiety, and potential loss of self-confidence can be the outcome of the professional and social blunders that come with hearing loss. If left unaddressed, these feelings can lead to a steady withdrawal. People begin to steer clear of physical activity and seclude themselves from family and friends. This seclusion, after a while, can result in depression and loneliness.

Hearing is About More Than Just Ears

Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its relationship with depression. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and general health are all impacted by your hearing. This indicates that within your overall healthcare, your hearing professional is an important part. People with hearing loss often deal with exhaustion, confusion, and aggravation.

The good news: The issue can be significantly enhanced by getting a hearing exam and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. Studies show that treating hearing loss early significantly reduces their risk. Routine hearing exams need to be encouraged by physicians. Hearing impairment isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can reveal, after all. And with people who may be dealing with hearing loss, caregivers need to look for signs of depression. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and general loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.

Never dismiss your symptoms. Call us to schedule an appointment if you believe you might have hearing loss.

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NEW WEBINAR: Depression, Hearing Loss, and Treatment with Hearing Aids

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