There is a solid link between mental health and hearing loss according to new research.
Besides this connection, both disorders have something else in common – they frequently go unacknowledged and untreated by health professionals and patients. For millions of individuals who are searching for solutions to mental health problems, recognizing this connection could bring potential improvements.
The effect of hearing loss on mental health has only been addressed by a few studies even though hearing loss is very common.
Out of all individuals who are diagnosed with hearing loss, studies show that over 11 percent of them also have clinical depression. This is noteworthy because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Standard questionnaires were based on self-reporting of hearing loss and evaluated depression based on the severity and frequency of symptoms. People who were between 18 and 69 had the highest rate of depression. The author of the study and a researcher at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, noted “a significant association between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.
Neglected 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 danger of depression increases the worse the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants took an evaluation for depression. This study also revealed that the risk of depression nearly doubles in individuals with even minor hearing loss. In addition, many older than 70 who have mild hearing loss (which has also been known to increase the chance of cognitive impairment and dementia) aren’t diagnosed or treated. While the research doesn’t prove that one is caused by the other, it is evident that it is a contributor.
In order to communicate effectively and continue to be active, hearing is crucial. Anxiety, embarrassment, and potential loss of self-esteem can be the outcome of the social and professional blunders that come with hearing loss. Progressive withdrawal can be the outcome if these feelings are left unaddressed. People start to avoid physical activity and seclude themselves from family and friends. After a while, this can result in solitude, loneliness – and depression.
Hearing Isn’t Only About Your Ears
Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its relationship with depression. Hearing affects your general health, the brain, quality of life, and healthy aging. This highlights the vital role of the hearing care professional within the scope of overall healthcare. Confusion, aggravation, and fatigue are often an issue for individuals who deal with hearing loss.
The good news: The issue can be substantially improved by having a hearing test and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. These risks are substantially decreased, according to research, with early treatment. Routine hearing exams need to be recommended by physicians. After all, hearing loss isn’t the only thing a hearing exam can detect. Care providers should also watch for indications of depression in people who may be dealing with either or both. Exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, impatience, and general loss of interest and sadness are all symptoms.
Never ignore your symptoms. Give us a call to make an appointment if you believe you might have hearing loss.