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New studies have shown a strong connection between hearing loss and mental health.

Besides this connection, both disorders have something else in common – patients and health professionals frequently fail to recognize and treat them. For millions of people who are seeking solutions to mental health issues, acknowledging this relationship could lead to potential improvements.

We understand that hearing loss is common, but only a few studies have addressed its effect on mental health.

Studies have revealed 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 noteworthy. Depression was assessed by the frequency and severity of the symptoms and a basic questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was used. Individuals 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 connection between severe depression and hearing loss”.

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 took an evaluation for depression. Once again, researchers found that individuals with even slight hearing loss were nearly two times as likely to have depression. In addition, many older than 70 who have mild hearing loss (which has also been known to increase the danger of cognitive decline and dementia) aren’t diagnosed or treated. Obviously, there’s a connection 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. Embarrassment, anxiety, and potential loss of self-esteem can be the outcome of the social and professional blunders that come with hearing loss. Progressive withdrawal can be the outcome if these feelings are not addressed. People withdraw from family and friends and also from physical activity. Over time, this can result in isolation, loneliness – and depression.

Hearing Isn’t Simply About Your Ears

Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its connection with depression. Hearing affects your general health, the brain, quality of life, and healthy aging. This demonstrates that within your overall healthcare, your hearing professional plays an important part. People with hearing loss frequently struggle with exhaustion, confusion, and frustration.

The good news: The problem can be substantially improved by getting a hearing exam and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. Studies show that treating hearing loss early substantially reduces their risk. It is vital that physicians advise regular hearing exams. Hearing impairment isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can reveal, after all. And with individuals who might be coping with hearing loss, care providers need to watch for indications of depression. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and overall loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.

Don’t suffer in silence. Give us a call to schedule an appointment if you suspect you may have hearing loss.

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References

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/fullarticle/1835392
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/article-abstract/2781095
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/fullarticle/2682653

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