New research has revealed a strong correlation between hearing loss and mental health.
And there’s something else that both of these disorders have in common – patients and health professionals frequently fail to recognize and treat them. For millions of individuals who are seeking solutions to mental health problems, identifying this relationship could lead to 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.
Studies have found that over 11 percent of people with measurable hearing loss also had symptoms of clinical depression. This is noteworthy because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Standard questionnaires were based on self-reporting of hearing loss and considered depression based on the frequency and severity of symptoms. They found depression was most common in individuals between the ages of 18 and 69. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a researcher at NICDC and the author of this study, discovered “a substantial link between severe depression and hearing loss”.
Neglected Hearing Loss Doubles Your Risk of Depression
Age related hearing loss is extremely common in older individuals 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. This study also revealed that the risk of depression almost doubles in people with even minor hearing loss. In addition, many over the age of 70 who have slight hearing loss (which has also been known to increase the chance of cognitive decline and dementia) aren’t diagnosed or treated. Clearly, there’s a link between the two even though a strong cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been demonstrated.
Hearing is essential to being active and communicating efficiently. Anxiety, embarrassment, and potential loss of self-confidence can be the result of the professional and social blunders that come with hearing loss. Progressive withdrawal can be the outcome if these feelings are not addressed. People begin to avoid physical activity and seclude themselves from friends and family. After a while, this can result in isolation, loneliness – and depression.
Hearing Isn’t Only About Your Ears
Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its association with depression. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and overall health are all affected by your hearing. This shows that within your general healthcare, your hearing professional plays an important part. Individuals with hearing loss frequently deal with fatigue, confusion, and aggravation.
The good news: The problem can be significantly enhanced by having a hearing test and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. These risks are considerably decreased, according to studies, with early treatment. It is vital that physicians endorse regular hearing tests. Hearing loss isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can reveal, after all. And with individuals who might be coping with hearing loss, care providers need to watch for symptoms of depression. Common symptoms include difficulty concentrating, fatigue, general loss of interest, unhappiness, and loss of appetite.
Don’t suffer alone. If you think you have hearing loss, give us a call to schedule a hearing test.