Hearing loss is a common condition that can be alleviated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. Still, a lot of hearing loss goes undiscovered and untreated – and that can result in higher depression rates and feelings of isolation in those who suffer from hearing loss.
It can also result in a strain in personal and work relationships, which itself adds to more feelings of isolation and depression. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to preventing this unnecessary cycle.
Hearing Loss Has Been Connected to Depression by Many Studies
Symptoms of depression have been consistently linked, according to numerous studies, to hearing loss. One study of people with untreated hearing loss found that adults 50 years or older were more likely to report symptoms of depression, along with signs of anxiety and paranoia. And it was also more likely that that group would retreat from social engagement. Many reported that they felt as if people were getting frustrated with them for no apparent reason. However, those who got hearing aids reported improvements in their relationships, and the people in their lives – family, co-workers, and friends – also saw improvements.
Another study found that individuals between the ages of 18 and 70, revealed a greater sense of depression if they suffered from hearing loss of more than 25 dB. People over 70 with a self-reported hearing loss did not show a significant difference in depression rates in comparison to people who didn’t suffer from hearing loss. But that still means that a large part of the population is not getting the assistance they require to better their lives. And individuals who participated in a different study revealed that those people who managed their hearing loss using hearing aids had a lower rate of depression.
Lack of Awareness or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Affects Mental Health
With reported outcomes like those, you would think that people would want to deal with their hearing loss. But people don’t seek out help for two main reasons. Some people assume that their hearing is functioning just fine when it really isn’t. They have themselves convinced that others are mumbling or even that they are speaking softly on purpose. The other factor is that some people might not realize they have a hearing loss. To them, it seems like others get tired of talking to them.
It’s essential that anyone who has experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety, or the feeling that they are being left out of interactions due to people talking too quietly or mumbling too much, get their hearing tested. If there’s hearing loss, that person should discuss which hearing aid is best for them. Consulting a good hearing specialist may be all that is needed to feel a whole lot better.