New studies have demonstrated a strong connection between hearing loss and mental health.
And there’s something else that both of these conditions have in common – health professionals and patients frequently fail to recognize and address them. For millions of people who are seeking solutions to mental health issues, recognizing this connection could lead to potential improvements.
The impact of hearing loss on mental health has only been dealt with by a few studies even though hearing loss is very prevalent.
Out of all people 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 noteworthy. Depression was evaluated by the frequency and severity of the symptoms and a basic questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was utilized. They found depression was most prevalent in individuals between the ages of 18 and 69. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a researcher at NICDC and the author of this study, discovered “a substantial link between severe depression and hearing loss”.
Your Chance of Depression Doubles With Neglected Hearing Loss
Age related hearing loss is very common in older individuals and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the chance of depression goes up the more severe the hearing loss is. Participants were assessed for depression after taking an audiometric hearing examination. This research also reported that the risk of depression nearly doubles in people with even minor hearing loss. Even more alarming, mild hearing loss frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated by many people over 70 which has also been shown to raise the danger of cognitive decline and dementia. Clearly, there’s a link between the two even though a strong cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been established.
Hearing is essential to being active and communicating effectively. Anxiety, embarrassment, and potential loss of self-confidence can be the outcome of the social and professional blunders that come with hearing loss. If not addressed, these feelings can lead to a steady withdrawal. Individuals withdraw from friends and family and also from physical activity. After a while, this can lead to isolation, loneliness – and depression.
Hearing Isn’t Just About The Ears
Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its association with depression. Hearing affects your overall health, the brain, quality of life, and healthy aging. This emphasizes the crucial role of the hearing care professional within the scope of general healthcare. Individuals with hearing loss often deal with exhaustion, confusion, and aggravation.
The good news: The problem can be significantly enhanced by getting a hearing exam and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. Studies suggest that treating hearing loss early significantly diminishes their risk. Routine hearing tests need to be encouraged by doctors. Hearing impairment isn’t the only thing that a hearing exam can reveal, after all. And with individuals who may be coping with hearing loss, caregivers need to look for indications of depression. Common symptoms include difficulty concentrating, fatigue, general loss of interest, unhappiness, and loss of appetite.
Don’t suffer alone. Give us a call to schedule an appointment if you believe you might have hearing loss.