There is a solid connection between mental health and hearing loss according to new research.
Beyond this link, both conditions have something else in common – health professionals and patients frequently fail to acknowledge and treat them. Realizing there is a relationship could potentially enhance mental health for millions of people and offer hope as they look for solutions.
The impact of hearing loss on mental health has only been dealt with by a few studies even though hearing loss is very common.
Research has found that more than 11 percent of people with measurable hearing loss also had signs of clinical depression. This is noteworthy because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Depression was analyzed by the frequency and severity of the symptoms and a basic questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was used. They found depression was most widespread in individuals between the ages of 18 and 69. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a scientist at NICDC and the author of this study, discovered “a substantial link between profound depression and hearing loss”.
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 chance of depression goes up the more severe the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants took an evaluation for depression. Once more, researchers observed that individuals with even a little bit of hearing loss were almost twice as likely to experience depression. In addition, many older than 70 who suffer from slight hearing loss (which has also been known to raise the chance of cognitive impairment and dementia) aren’t diagnosed or treated. Obviously, there’s a link between the two even though a direct cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been demonstrated.
Hearing is essential to being active and communicating successfully. Anxiety, embarrassment, and potential loss of self-confidence can be the consequence of the professional and social blunders that come with hearing loss. Gradual withdrawal can be the outcome 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 Your Ears
Hearing loss and its link to depression underscores that hearing loss isn’t only about the ears. Hearing affects your overall health, the brain, quality of life, and healthy aging. This demonstrates that within your general healthcare, your hearing professional plays an important part. Confusion, aggravation, and fatigue are frequently a problem for individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
The good news: Finding professional care and testing at the soonest sign of a hearing problem helps prevent this problem. These risks are significantly decreased, according to research, with early treatment. Routine hearing exams need to be recommended by doctors. Hearing impairment isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can uncover, after all. Caregivers should also watch for symptoms of depression in patients who might be dealing with either or both. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, impatience, and overall loss of interest and sadness are all symptoms.
Don’t suffer in silence. If you suspect you have hearing loss, give us a call to schedule a hearing test.