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 – patients and health professionals often fail to acknowledge and address them. For millions of individuals who are searching for solutions to mental health issues, acknowledging this relationship could lead to potential improvements.
We know that hearing loss is widespread, but only a handful of studies have addressed its impact on mental health.
Out of all people who are diagnosed with hearing loss, studies show that over 11 percent of them also deal with 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 severity and frequency of symptoms. Individuals 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 considerable connection between profound depression and hearing loss”.
Your Chance of Depression Doubles With Neglected Hearing Loss
Another study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, found that individuals with age-related hearing loss (a really common chronic issue in the elderly) experienced more signs of depression and the worse the hearing loss – the higher the risk of having depressive symptoms. After audiometric hearing testing, participants were evaluated for depression. This study also revealed that the risk of depression nearly doubles in people with even slight hearing loss. In addition, many older than 70 who suffer from mild hearing loss (which has also been known to increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia) are not diagnosed or treated. While the research doesn’t prove that one is caused by the other, it is evident that it is a contributor.
Hearing is essential to being active and communicating successfully. Hearing issues can cause professional and social blunders that trigger embarrassment, anxiety, and potentially loss of self-confidence. If left unaddressed, these feelings can result in a steady withdrawal. People withdraw from family and friends and also from physical activity. After a while, this can lead to isolation, loneliness – and depression.
Hearing is About More Than Just 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 demonstrates that within your general healthcare, your hearing professional plays an important part. People with hearing loss often struggle with exhaustion, confusion, and frustration.
The good news: The issue can be significantly improved by having a hearing test and treatment as soon as you recognize hearing loss symptoms. These risks are significantly reduced, according to research, with early treatment. Regular hearing tests need to be recommended by physicians. After all, hearing loss isn’t the only thing a hearing exam can diagnose. Caregivers should also watch for signs of depression in patients who might be dealing with either or both. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and overall loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.
Never ignore your symptoms. If you believe you have hearing loss, give us a call to schedule a hearing assessment.