Hearing loss is a prevalent problem that can be mitigated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. However, a lot of hearing loss goes undiagnosed and untreated – and that can lead to higher depression rates and feelings of isolation in those with hearing loss.
And it can spiral into a vicious circle where isolation and depression from hearing loss cause a breakdown in personal and work relationship resulting in even worse depression and solitude. This is a problem that doesn’t need to happen, and getting that hearing loss treated is the best way to end the downward spiral.
Hearing Loss Has Been Connected to Depression by Numerous Studies
Researchers have found in several studies that untreated hearing loss is connected to the advancement of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new phenomenon. Symptoms of anxiety, depression, and paranoia were, as reported by one study, more likely to affect individuals over 50 who have neglected hearing loss. And it was also more likely that those people would withdraw from social involvement. Many couldn’t comprehend why it seemed like people were getting mad at them. However, those who used hearing aids reported improvements in their relationships, and the people in their lives – family, co-workers, and friends – also saw improvements.
A more intense sense of depression is experienced, as reported by a different study, by individuals who had a 25 decibel or more hearing impairment. The only group that didn’t document a higher incidence of depression even with hearing loss was individuals over the age of 70. But all other demographics have people who aren’t receiving the help that they require for their hearing loss. A different study discovered that hearing aid users had a lower reported rate of depression symptoms than those subjects who had hearing loss but who didn’t use hearing aids.
Mental Health is Impacted by Resistance to Using Hearing Aids
With reported outcomes like those, you might think that people would wish to manage their hearing loss. But people don’t find help for two main reasons. Some people assume that their hearing is working just fine when it really isn’t. They assume that others are intentionally speaking quietly or mumbling. The second factor is that some people may not realize they have a hearing impairment. It seems, to them, that people don’t like talking with them.
It’s vital that anyone who has experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression, or the sense that they are being left out of interactions due to people speaking too quietly or mumbling too much, get their hearing examined. If your hearing specialist finds hearing problems, hearing aid options should be discussed. You could possibly feel much better if you consult a hearing specialist.