Hearing loss is a prevalent affliction that can be alleviated easily with the use of hearing aids and assistive listening devices. Still, a lot of hearing loss goes undiscovered and neglected – and that can result in higher depression rates and feelings of isolation in those with hearing loss.
It can also lead to a breakdown in work and personal relationships, which itself adds to more feelings of isolation and depression. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to preventing this unnecessary cycle.
Hearing Loss Has Been Linked to Depression by Many Studies
Researchers have discovered in several studies that neglected hearing loss is linked to the development of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new trend. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and paranoia were, as reported by one study, more likely to affect people over 50 who have untreated hearing loss. And it was also more likely that those people would retreat from social involvement. Many couldn’t comprehend why it seemed like people were getting angry with them. However, relationships were improved for those who got hearing aids, who noted that friends, family, and co-workers all noticed the difference.
A more profound sense of depression is encountered, as reported by a different study, by people who suffered from a 25 decibel or higher hearing impairment. People over the age of 70 with a self-reported hearing loss didn’t show a significant difference in depression rates compared to people without hearing loss. But that still means that a significant part of the population is not getting the assistance they require to better their lives. And individuals who took part in a different study reported that those people who treated their hearing loss using hearing aids had a lower rate of depression.
ignorance or Unwillingness to Wear Hearing Aids Impacts Mental Health
With documented outcomes like those, you might imagine that people would want to manage their hearing loss. However, two factors have prevented people from getting help. Some people believe that their hearing is functioning just fine when it really isn’t. They have themselves convinced that others are mumbling or even that they are speaking softly on purpose. The other factor is that some people may not recognize that they have a hearing loss. It seems, to them, that people don’t like talking with them.
It’s essential that anyone who has experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety, or the sense that they are being left out of interactions due to people talking too quietly or mumbling too much, have their hearing tested. If there is hearing loss, that person should talk about which hearing aid is right for them. Consulting a good hearing specialist may be all that is needed to feel much better.