Hearing Health Blog

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New studies have demonstrated a strong link between hearing loss and mental health.

Besides this connection, both disorders have something else in common – they often go unacknowledged and untreated by health professionals and patients. Realizing there is a connection could potentially enhance mental health for millions of individuals and give hope as they seek solutions.

The impact of hearing loss on mental health has only been addressed by a few studies even though hearing loss is very common.

Out of all individuals who are diagnosed with hearing loss, research shows that over 11 percent of them also deal with clinical depression. Depression was only reported by 5 percent of the general population so this finding is noteworthy. Standard questionnaires were based on self-reporting of hearing loss and considered depression based on the severity and frequency of symptoms. Individuals who were between 18 and 69 had the highest instance of depression. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a scientist at NICDC and the author of this study, discovered “a considerable link between profound depression and hearing loss”.

Your Risk of Depression Doubles With Neglected Hearing Loss

Age related hearing loss is extremely common in older people 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. Once more, researchers observed that people with even a little bit of hearing loss were nearly two times as likely to experience depression. Even more alarming, mild hearing loss frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated by many people over 70 which has also been demonstrated to increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Clearly, there’s a relationship between the two even though a direct cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been demonstrated.

In order to communicate efficiently and continue to be active, hearing is essential. Hearing problems 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 gradual withdrawal. People begin to steer clear of physical activity and seclude themselves from family and friends. This seclusion, over time, can result in depression and loneliness.

Hearing is About More Than Just Ears

Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its relationship with depression. Hearing impacts your overall health, the brain, quality of life, and healthy aging. This demonstrates that within your overall healthcare, your hearing professional is an important part. Confusion, aggravation, and fatigue are often a problem for people who have hearing loss.

The good news: Finding professional care and testing at the earliest sign of a hearing problem helps counter this problem. Studies demonstrate that treating hearing loss early substantially reduces their risk. It is vital that physicians recommend routine hearing tests. After all, hearing loss is not the only thing a hearing exam can detect. And with people who might be dealing with hearing loss, care providers need to watch for symptoms of depression. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and overall loss of interest and sadness are all symptoms.

Don’t suffer in silence. If you believe you have hearing loss, give us a call to schedule a hearing test.

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References

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/fullarticle/1835392
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/article-abstract/2781095
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/fullarticle/2682653

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