There is a strong connection between mental health and hearing loss according to new research.
Besides this connection, both conditions have something else in common – they frequently go unacknowledged and neglected by patients and health professionals. For millions of people who are searching for solutions to mental health problems, recognizing this connection could lead to potential improvements.
We understand that hearing loss is common, but only a few studies have addressed its effect on mental health.
Research has revealed that over 11 percent of people with measurable hearing loss also had symptoms of clinical depression. This is noteworthy because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Depression was evaluated by the severity and frequency of the symptoms and a standard questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was used. Individuals 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, found “a substantial link between profound depression and hearing loss”.
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 danger of depression rises the more severe the hearing loss is. Participants were evaluated for depression after taking an audiometric hearing test. Once more, researchers observed that people with even slight hearing loss were nearly two times as likely to experience depression. In addition, many over the age of 70 who suffer from mild hearing loss (which has also been known to increase the chance of cognitive decline and dementia) are not diagnosed or treated. While the research doesn’t prove that one causes the other, it is obvious that it is a contributor.
Hearing is crucial to being active and communicating successfully. Embarrassment, anxiety, and potential loss of self-confidence can be the consequence of the social and professional blunders that come with hearing loss. Progressive withdrawal can be the outcome if these feelings are not addressed. Individuals withdraw from family and friends and also from physical activity. This isolation, over time, can lead to depression and loneliness.
Hearing Isn’t Just About Your Ears
Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its association with depression. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and overall health are all impacted by your hearing. This highlights the vital role of the hearing care professional within the scope of general healthcare. Confusion, frustration, and fatigue are frequently an issue for people who have hearing loss.
The good news: The problem can be significantly improved by getting a hearing test and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. These risks are considerably reduced, according to research, with early treatment. It is essential that physicians endorse routine hearing exams. Hearing loss isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can uncover, after all. Caregivers should also watch for signs of depression in people who may be dealing with either or both. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and overall loss of interest and sadness are all symptoms.
Never dismiss your symptoms. Call us to make an appointment if you suspect you might have hearing loss.