New research has revealed a strong link between hearing loss and mental health.
And there’s something else that both of these disorders have in common – health professionals and patients often fail to acknowledge and address them. For millions of individuals who are looking for solutions to mental health issues, identifying this connection could bring 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 widespread.
Studies have revealed that more than 11 percent of individuals with measurable hearing loss also had symptoms of clinical depression. This is noteworthy because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Depression was evaluated by the severity and frequency of the symptoms and a basic questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was used. They found depression was most common in people between the ages of 18 and 69. The author of the study and a scientist at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, noted “a considerable connection between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.
Your Chance of Depression Doubles With Untreated Hearing Loss
Another study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, revealed that individuals with age-related hearing loss (a very common chronic condition in senior citizens) experienced more signs of depression and the more severe the hearing loss – the higher the chance of having depressive symptoms. Participants were evaluated for depression after taking an audiometric hearing exam. Once again, researchers found that individuals with even slight hearing loss were almost two times as likely to experience depression. 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. Obviously, there’s a relationship between the two even though a strong cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been demonstrated.
Hearing is crucial to being active and communicating efficiently. Hearing issues can lead to professional and social blunders that cause anxiety and embarrassment, and potentially loss of self-esteem. Gradual withdrawal can be the result if these feelings are not addressed. People begin to steer clear of physical activity and isolate themselves from friends and family. This isolation, over time, can lead to depression and loneliness.
Hearing Isn’t Simply About The Ears
Hearing loss and its link to depression underscores that hearing loss isn’t just about the ears. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and overall 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 often deal with fatigue, confusion, and aggravation.
The good news: The problem can be substantially improved by getting a hearing test and treatment as soon as you recognize hearing loss symptoms. Studies demonstrate that treating hearing loss early significantly decreases their risk. It is essential that physicians recommend routine hearing examinations. Hearing impairment isn’t the only thing that a hearing exam can uncover, after all. And with individuals who may be coping with hearing loss, caregivers need to watch for symptoms of depression. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and general loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.
Never neglect your symptoms. If you believe you have hearing loss, give us a call to schedule a hearing assessment.