Hearing loss is a common affliction that can be mitigated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. However, a lot of hearing loss goes undiagnosed and untreated – and that can lead to higher depression rates and feelings of isolation in those with hearing loss.
And it can quickly become a vicious circle where isolation and depression from hearing loss cause a breakdown in work and personal relationship leading to even worse depression and isolation. Treating hearing loss is the key to ending this unnecessary cycle.
Hearing Loss Has Been Linked to Depression by Many Studies
Symptoms of depression have been consistently linked, according to several studies, to hearing loss. Symptoms of anxiety, depression, and paranoia were, according to one study, more likely to impact individuals over 50 who struggle with neglected hearing loss. They were also more likely to refrain from social experiences. Many stated that they felt like people were getting angry at them for no reason. However, relationships were improved for people who wore hearing aids, who noted that friends, family, and co-workers all recognized the difference.
A more intense sense of depression is experienced, as reported by a different study, by individuals who suffered from a 25 decibel or higher hearing impairment. The only group that didn’t report an increased incidence of depression even with hearing loss was people 70 years old or older. But all other demographics contain individuals 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 didn’t use hearing aids.
ignorance or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Affects Mental Health
It seems apparent that with these kinds of outcomes people would wish to get help with their hearing loss. However, two factors have stopped people from finding help. One is that some simply don’t recognize that their hearing is that bad. They have themselves convinced that people are mumbling or even that they are talking quietly on purpose. The second factor is that some people may not realize they have a hearing impairment. To them, it seems as if other people get tired of talking to them.
It’s vital that anybody who has experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety, or the feeling that they are being excluded from interactions due to people speaking too quietly or mumbling too much, have their hearing examined. If there is hearing loss, that person should discuss which hearing aid is right for them. Seeing a good hearing specialist may be all that is needed to feel much better.