Hearing Aids can help decrease the negative effects of the prevalent condition of hearing loss. Still, a lot of hearing loss goes undiagnosed and untreated – and that can result in 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 solitude. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to ending this unnecessary cycle.
Research Connects Depression to Hearing Loss
Symptoms of depression have been continuously connected, according to several studies, to hearing loss. One study of individuals with neglected hearing loss discovered that adults 50 years or older were more likely to report symptoms of depression, along with signs of anxiety and paranoia. And it was also more likely that that group would withdraw from social involvement. Many reported that they felt as if people were getting frustrated with them for no apparent reason. Still, those who used hearing aids reported improvements in their relationships, and the people in their lives – family, co-workers, and friends – also noticed improvements.
A more intense sense of depression is experienced, as documented by a different study, by individuals who had a 25 decibel or higher hearing impairment. Individuals over the age of 70 with a self-diagnosed hearing loss did not demonstrate a major difference in depression rates compared to individuals who didn’t suffer from hearing loss. But all other demographics contain people who aren’t receiving the help that they need for their hearing loss. Another study found that hearing aid users had a lower reported rate of depression symptoms than those individuals who had hearing loss but who didn’t use hearing aids.
ignorance or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Impacts Mental Health
It would seem obvious that with these kinds of results people would want to get assistance with their hearing loss. But people don’t seek out help for two main reasons. One is that some simply don’t think their hearing is that impaired. They think that others are purposely speaking quietly or mumbling. Also, it’s fairly common for people to have no clue they have a hearing problem. To them, it seems like others don’t want to talk to them.
It’s vital that anybody who has experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety, or the sense that they are being left out of interactions because they are talking too quietly or mumbling too much, get their hearing tested. If your hearing specialist finds hearing problems, hearing aid solutions should be talked about. Seeing a good hearing specialist may be all that is needed to feel a whole lot better.