There is a solid connection between mental health and hearing loss according to new research.
And there’s something else that both of these disorders have in common – health professionals and patients frequently fail to acknowledge and treat them. For millions of people who are looking for solutions to mental health problems, acknowledging this relationship could bring potential improvements.
We understand that hearing loss is widespread, but only a handful of studies have dealt with its effect on mental health.
Studies have found that more than 11 percent of people with measurable hearing loss also had symptoms of clinical depression. Depression was only reported by 5 percent of the general population so this finding is noteworthy. Standard questionnaires were based on self-reporting of hearing loss and assessed depression based on the severity and frequency of symptoms. People who were between 18 and 69 had the highest instance of depression. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a researcher at NICDC and the author of this study, discovered “a substantial connection between severe depression and hearing loss”.
Your Risk of Depression Doubles With Neglected Hearing Loss
Another study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, found that people with age-related hearing loss (a very common chronic issue in the elderly) experienced more signs of depression and the worse the hearing loss – the higher the chance of having depressive symptoms. After audiometric hearing testing, participants took an evaluation for depression. This research also reported that the risk of depression almost doubles in individuals with even slight hearing loss. Even more startling, mild hearing loss frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated by many people over 70 which has also been demonstrated to increase 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.
Hearing is crucial to being active and communicating successfully. Hearing issues can lead to professional and social blunders that trigger embarrassment, anxiety, and potentially loss of self-esteem. Gradual withdrawal can be the outcome if these feelings are not addressed. People start to avoid physical activity and isolate themselves from family and friends. Over time, this can result in isolation, loneliness – and depression.
Hearing Isn’t Only About The Ears
Hearing loss and its association with depression underscores that hearing loss isn’t simply about the ears. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and overall health are all affected by your hearing. This indicates that within your general healthcare, your hearing professional plays an important part. Individuals with hearing loss often struggle with exhaustion, confusion, and aggravation.
The good news: The problem can be significantly improved by having a hearing exam and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. These risks are considerably decreased, according to studies, with early treatment. It is vital that physicians endorse routine hearing tests. Hearing loss isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can uncover, after all. And with individuals who may be dealing with hearing loss, care providers need to watch for indications of depression. Exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, impatience, and overall loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.
Don’t suffer alone. If you believe you have hearing loss, give us a call to schedule a hearing test.