There is a strong correlation between mental health and hearing loss according to new studies.
And there’s something else that both of these disorders have in common – they often go overlooked and untreated by patients and health professionals. For millions of people who are seeking solutions to mental health problems, acknowledging this connection could bring potential improvements.
The impact of hearing loss on mental health has only been dealt with by a few studies even though hearing loss is very prevalent.
Out of all individuals who are diagnosed with hearing loss, studies show that over 11 percent of them also have clinical depression. This is noteworthy because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Depression was evaluated by the frequency and severity of the symptoms and a standard questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was utilized. They found depression was most prevalent in people between the ages of 18 and 69. The author of the study and a scientist at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, saw “a significant association between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.
Your Chance of Depression Doubles With Untreated Hearing Loss
Age related hearing loss is very common in older individuals and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the chance of depression increases the worse the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants took an evaluation for depression. Once again, researchers observed that people with even a little bit of hearing loss were nearly twice as likely to experience depression. What’s more, many older than 70 who suffer from mild hearing loss (which has also been known to raise the danger of cognitive impairment 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.
In order to communicate efficiently and remain active, hearing is essential. Hearing issues can lead to professional and social blunders that trigger anxiety and embarrassment, and potentially loss of self-confidence. If left unaddressed, these feelings can result in a steady withdrawal. People withdraw from friends and family as well as from physical activity. Over time, this can result in solitude, loneliness – and depression.
Hearing is About More Than Just Ears
Hearing loss and its link to depression underscores that hearing loss isn’t just about the ears. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and overall health are all impacted by your hearing. This demonstrates that within your general healthcare, your hearing professional plays an important part. People with hearing loss frequently struggle with exhaustion, confusion, and aggravation.
The good news: The problem can be substantially improved by having a hearing exam and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. Studies demonstrate that treating hearing loss early significantly decreases their risk. It is vital that physicians endorse routine hearing examinations. Hearing loss isn’t the only thing that a hearing exam can uncover, after all. Caregivers should also look for signs of depression in patients who might be dealing with either or both. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and general loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.
Never neglect your symptoms. Call us to schedule an appointment if you believe you may have hearing loss.