There is a solid correlation between mental health and hearing loss according to new studies.
Beyond this connection, both conditions have something else in common – they often go unacknowledged and neglected by patients and health professionals. Recognizing there is a relationship could potentially enhance mental health for millions of individuals and give hope as they seek solutions.
We understand that hearing loss is common, but only a handful of studies have addressed its impact on mental health.
Out of all individuals who are diagnosed with hearing loss, studies show that over 11 percent of them also deal with clinical depression. This is significant because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Depression was evaluated by the frequency and severity of the symptoms and a standard questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was utilized. People who were between 18 and 69 had the highest instance of depression. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a scientist at NICDC and the author of this study, discovered “a substantial link between profound depression and hearing loss”.
Your Chance of Depression Doubles With Untreated Hearing Loss
Age related hearing loss is quite common in older people and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the chance of depression increases the worse the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants were evaluated for depression. Once again, researchers observed that individuals with even a little bit of hearing loss were nearly two times as likely to experience depression. Even more startling, mild hearing loss often goes undiagnosed and untreated by many people over 70 which has also been demonstrated to raise the danger of cognitive decline and dementia. While the studies cannot prove that one is caused by the other, it is evident that it is a contributor.
In order to communicate efficiently and remain active, hearing is crucial. Anxiety, embarrassment, and potential loss of self-esteem can be the consequence of the social and professional blunders that come with hearing loss. Gradual withdrawal can be the outcome if these feelings are left unaddressed. People start to steer clear of physical activity and isolate themselves from family and friends. This seclusion, after a while, can result in depression and loneliness.
Hearing Isn’t Simply About Your Ears
Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its connection with depression. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and general health are all impacted by your hearing. This emphasizes the vital role of the hearing care professional within the scope of overall healthcare. Confusion, frustration, and fatigue are frequently a problem for individuals who deal with hearing loss.
The good news: The problem can be substantially improved by getting a hearing exam and treatment as soon as you recognize hearing loss symptoms. Studies demonstrate that treating hearing loss early greatly decreases their risk. Routine hearing tests need to be encouraged by doctors. Hearing loss isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can uncover, after all. Caregivers should also watch for signs of depression in patients who might be dealing with either or both. Common symptoms include difficulty concentrating, fatigue, overall loss of interest, unhappiness, and loss of appetite.
Don’t suffer alone. If you believe you have hearing loss, call us to schedule a hearing test.