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Man with untreated hearing loss depressed and looking out the window.

There is a solid connection between mental health and hearing loss according to new studies.

Besides this connection, both disorders have something else in common – they frequently go unacknowledged and neglected by patients and health professionals. For millions of people who are searching for solutions to mental health problems, recognizing this connection could lead to potential improvements.

The effect 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, research shows that over 11 percent of them also deal with 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. People who were between 18 and 69 had the highest rate of depression. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a scientist at NICDC and the author of this study, found “a considerable connection between profound depression and hearing loss”.

Untreated Hearing Loss Doubles Your Risk of Depression

Another study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, revealed that individuals with age-related hearing loss (a very common chronic condition in the elderly) experienced more signs of depression and the more severe the hearing loss – the higher the risk of depression. Participants were evaluated for depression after taking an audiometric hearing exam. This research also reported that the chance of depression almost doubles in people with even minor hearing loss. Even more startling, mild hearing loss frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated by many individuals over 70 which has also been shown to raise the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. While the research doesn’t prove that one causes the other, it is obvious that it is a contributor.

In order to communicate effectively and remain active, hearing is crucial. Hearing issues can cause professional and social blunders that cause anxiety and embarrassment, and potentially loss of self-esteem. If not addressed, these feelings can lead to a gradual withdrawal. People begin to steer clear of physical activity and isolate themselves from family and friends. Over time, this can result in solitude, loneliness – and depression.

Hearing is About More Than Just Ears

Hearing loss and its association with depression underscores that hearing loss isn’t simply about the ears. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and overall health are all impacted by your hearing. This indicates that within your overall healthcare, your hearing professional plays an important part. Confusion, aggravation, and fatigue are often a problem for people who suffer from hearing loss.

The good news: Finding professional care and testing at the earliest sign of a hearing issue helps prevent this problem. These risks are substantially decreased, according to research, with early treatment. Routine hearing exams need to be recommended by doctors. After all, hearing loss is not the only thing a hearing test can diagnose. And with individuals who may be coping with hearing loss, caregivers need to watch for symptoms of depression. Common symptoms include difficulty focusing, fatigue, general loss of interest, sadness, and loss of appetite.

Don’t suffer in silence. Call us to schedule an appointment if you think you might have hearing loss.

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NEW WEBINAR: Depression, Hearing Loss, and Treatment with Hearing Aids

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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