Hearing loss is a common condition that can be alleviated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. However, a lot of hearing loss goes undiagnosed and untreated – and that can result in greater depression rates and feelings of isolation in those with hearing loss.
It can also result in a breakdown in personal and work relationships, which itself adds to more feelings of depression and isolation. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to stopping this unnecessary cycle.
Studies Link Depression to Hearing Loss
Researchers have discovered in numerous studies that untreated hearing loss is linked to the development of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new phenomenon. One study of individuals who suffer from neglected hearing loss found that adults 50 years or older were more likely to document symptoms of depression, along with signs of paranoia or anxiety. They were also more likely to avoid social activities. Many said that they felt like people were getting frustrated with them for no reason. However, relationships were enhanced for people who wore hearing aids, who noted that friends, family, and co-workers all noticed the difference.
A more intense sense of depression is experienced, as documented by a different study, by people who had a 25 decibel or more hearing impairment. People over the age of 70 with a self-diagnosed hearing loss did not show a significant contrast in depression rates in comparison to individuals who didn’t suffer from hearing loss. But all other demographics have people who aren’t receiving the help that they require for their hearing loss. Another study revealed that hearing aid users had a lower reported rate of depression symptoms than those subjects who suffered from hearing loss but who did not use hearing aids.
Lack of Awareness or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Affects Mental Health
With documented benefits like those, you might imagine that people would wish to treat their hearing loss. However, two factors have stopped people from getting help. First, some people simply don’t recognize that their hearing is that impaired. They have themselves convinced that others are mumbling or even that they are speaking quietly on purpose. The other factor is that some people might not recognize that they have a hearing impairment. To them, it seems like other people don’t want to talk to them.
It’s imperative that anybody who has experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression, or the feeling that they are being excluded from interactions due to people talking too quietly or mumbling too much, have their hearing tested. If your hearing specialist detects hearing problems, hearing aid solutions should be discussed. Consulting a good hearing specialist might be all that is needed to feel much better.