There is a strong link between mental health and hearing loss according to new research.
Besides this link, both conditions have something else in common – they frequently go overlooked and untreated by patients and health professionals. For millions of individuals who are seeking solutions to mental health issues, acknowledging this relationship could bring 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 common.
Studies have revealed that over 11 percent of individuals 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 significant. Depression was assessed by the frequency and severity of the symptoms and a standard questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was utilized. Individuals who were between 18 and 69 had the highest rate of depression. The author of the study and a scientist at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, noted “a considerable association between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.
Untreated Hearing Loss Doubles Your Risk of Depression
Age related hearing loss is extremely common in older people and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the chance of depression increases the worse the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants were evaluated for depression. Once more, researchers observed that people with even slight hearing loss were nearly twice as likely to have depression. Even more alarming, mild hearing loss frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated by many people over 70 which has also been shown to increase the danger of cognitive decline and dementia. Obviously, there’s a link between the two even though a direct cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been established.
Hearing is essential to being active and communicating efficiently. Anxiety, embarrassment, and potential loss of self-confidence can be the result of the social and professional blunders that come with hearing loss. Gradual withdrawal can be the result if these feelings are left unaddressed. People withdraw from friends and family as well as from physical activity. Over time, this can lead to solitude, loneliness – and depression.
Hearing Isn’t Just About The 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 affected by your hearing. This demonstrates that within your overall healthcare, your hearing professional plays an important part. Individuals with hearing loss frequently struggle with exhaustion, confusion, and aggravation.
The good news: The problem can be substantially enhanced by getting a hearing exam and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. These risks are greatly decreased, according to research, with early treatment. Regular hearing tests need to be encouraged by physicians. After all, hearing loss is not the only thing a hearing exam can diagnose. And with individuals who might be dealing with hearing loss, caregivers need to look for indications of depression. Common symptoms include difficulty focusing, fatigue, general loss of interest, unhappiness, and loss of appetite.
Never dismiss your symptoms. If you believe you have hearing loss, call us to schedule a hearing assessment.