Hearing loss is a common problem that can be mitigated easily with the use of hearing aids and assistive listening devices. Still, a lot of hearing loss goes undiagnosed and neglected – and that can result in higher depression rates and feelings of isolation in those who suffer from hearing loss.
And it can quickly become a vicious circle where isolation and depression from hearing loss cause a breakdown in personal and work relationship resulting in even worse depression and solitude. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to stopping this unnecessary cycle.
Hearing Loss Has Been Linked to Depression by Many Studies
Symptoms of depression have been continuously connected, according to several studies, to hearing loss. One study of people who suffer from untreated hearing loss discovered that adults 50 years or older were more likely to report symptoms of depression, and signs of anxiety and paranoia. And it was also more likely that those people would retreat from social engagement. Many couldn’t understand why it seemed like people were getting angry with them. However, those who got hearing aids reported improvements in their relationships, and the people around them – family, co-workers, and friends – also observed improvements.
A different study found that people between the ages of 18 and 70, revealed a greater feeling of depression if they had hearing loss of more than 25 dB. The only group that didn’t document a higher incidence of depression even with hearing loss was individuals 70 years old or older. But that still indicates that a significant part of the population is not getting the help they require to better their lives. A different study discovered that people who use hearing aids had a lower reported rate of depression symptoms than those subjects who had hearing loss but who didn’t use hearing aids.
ignorance or Unwillingness to Wear Hearing Aids Affects Mental Health
It would seem obvious that with these kinds of results people would wish to seek out assistance with their hearing loss. However, two factors have stopped people from seeking help. Some people think that their hearing is working just fine when it really isn’t. They have themselves convinced that people are mumbling or even that they are talking softly on purpose. The second factor is that some people may not recognize that they have a hearing loss. To them, it seems like others don’t want to talk to them.
It’s imperative that anybody who has experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety, or the feeling that they are being left out of interactions because they are speaking too quietly or mumbling too much, have their hearing tested. If there is hearing loss, that person needs to discuss which hearing aid is right for them. Seeing a good hearing specialist may be all that is needed to feel much better.