There is a strong correlation between mental health and hearing loss according to new studies.
And there’s something else that both of these conditions have in common – they frequently go unacknowledged and untreated by health professionals and patients. For millions of individuals who are seeking solutions to mental health issues, identifying this relationship could lead to 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.
Out of all individuals who are diagnosed with hearing loss, research shows 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. Depression was analyzed by the frequency and severity of the symptoms and a standard questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was utilized. They found depression was most prevalent 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 significant association between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.
Untreated Hearing Loss Doubles Your Risk of Depression
Another study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, found that people with age-related hearing loss (a very common chronic condition in senior citizens) experienced more signs of depression and the worse the hearing loss – the higher the risk of having depressive symptoms. Participants were evaluated for depression after taking an audiometric hearing test. Once more, researchers observed that people with even a little bit of hearing loss were almost twice as likely to have 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 risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Obviously, there’s a relationship between the two even though a direct cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been established.
Hearing is essential to being active and communicating successfully. Embarrassment, anxiety, and potential loss of self-confidence can be the result of the social and professional blunders that come with hearing loss. If left unaddressed, these feelings can lead to a steady withdrawal. People withdraw from friends and family as well as from physical activity. This seclusion, over time, can result in depression and loneliness.
Hearing Isn’t Only About Your Ears
Hearing loss and its link to depression underscores that hearing loss isn’t only about the ears. Hearing affects your general health, the brain, quality of life, and healthy aging. This emphasizes the vital role of the hearing care professional within the scope of overall healthcare. Confusion, frustration, and fatigue are frequently an issue for people who deal with hearing loss.
The good news: Getting professional care and testing at the earliest sign of a hearing problem helps counter this issue. These risks are substantially decreased, according to studies, with early treatment. Regular hearing tests need to be encouraged by physicians. Hearing impairment isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can uncover, after all. Care providers should also look for signs of depression in patients who may be dealing with either or both. Common symptoms include difficulty focusing, fatigue, overall loss of interest, unhappiness, and loss of appetite.
Don’t suffer in silence. If you think you have hearing loss, give us a call to schedule a hearing test.