There is a strong connection between mental health and hearing loss according to new research.
And there’s something else that both of these conditions have in common – health professionals and patients frequently fail to acknowledge and treat them. For millions of individuals who are seeking solutions to mental health issues, identifying this relationship could lead to 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 deal with clinical depression. Depression was only reported by 5 percent of the general population so this finding is significant. Depression was assessed by the severity and frequency of the symptoms and a standard questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was utilized. They found depression was most widespread in people between the ages of 18 and 69. The author of the study and a scientist at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, noticed “a considerable association between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.
Your Chance of Depression Doubles With Neglected Hearing Loss
Age related hearing loss is quite common in older people and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the risk of depression goes up the worse the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants took an evaluation for depression. Once again, researchers found that people with even slight hearing loss were almost twice as likely to have depression. In addition, many older than 70 who suffer from slight hearing loss (which has also been known to raise the danger of cognitive impairment and dementia) aren’t diagnosed or treated. While the studies cannot prove that one is caused by the other, it is obvious that it is a contributor.
Hearing is crucial to being active and communicating successfully. Anxiety, embarrassment, and potential loss of self-esteem can be the consequence of the professional and social blunders that come with hearing loss. If left unaddressed, these feelings can result in a steady withdrawal. People begin to avoid physical activity and isolate themselves from family and friends. This seclusion, after a while, can result in depression and loneliness.
Hearing Isn’t Only About The Ears
Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its relationship 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. Confusion, frustration, and fatigue are frequently an issue for individuals who deal with hearing loss.
The good news: Getting professional care and testing at the soonest sign of a hearing problem helps prevent this issue. Studies show that treating hearing loss early significantly decreases their risk. Regular hearing tests need to be encouraged by physicians. After all, hearing loss isn’t the only thing a hearing exam can detect. Caregivers should also watch for signs of depression in patients who may be dealing with either or both. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, impatience, and overall loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.
Never neglect your symptoms. If you believe you have hearing loss, give us a call to schedule a hearing test.