Hearing loss is a common problem that can be mitigated easily with the use of hearing aids and assistive listening devices. But a higher occurrence of depression and feelings of solitude occurs when hearing loss is neglected and undiscovered.
It can also lead to a strain in work and personal relationships, which itself contributes to more feelings of isolation and depression. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to stopping this unnecessary cycle.
Research Connects Hearing Loss to Depression
Symptoms of depression have been consistently connected, according to countless studies, to hearing loss. One study of individuals with untreated hearing loss found that adults 50 years or older were more likely to report symptoms of depression, and signs of paranoia or anxiety. And it was also more likely that that group would retreat from social engagement. Many couldn’t comprehend why it seemed like people were getting mad at them. However, those who got hearing aids noted improvements in their relationships, and the people in their lives – family, co-workers, and friends – also noticed improvements.
Another study found that individuals between the ages of 18 and 70, revealed a greater sense of depression if they suffered from hearing loss of greater than 25 dB. The only group that didn’t document an increased occurrence of depression even with hearing loss was individuals over the age of 70. But that still means that a significant part of the population is not getting the assistance they need to better their lives. A different study found that people who use hearing aids had a lower reported rate of depression symptoms than those subjects who suffered from hearing loss but who didn’t use hearing aids.
Lack of Awareness or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Impacts Mental Health
It would seem obvious that with these kinds of results people would want to seek out assistance with their hearing loss. However, two factors have stopped people from getting help. One is that some simply don’t think their hearing is that impaired. They assume that people are purposely talking quietly or mumbling. The other factor is that some people might not recognize that they have a hearing loss. To them, it seems like others don’t want to talk to them.
If you are somebody who frequently feels like people are speaking quietly or mumbling and it’s causing you to feel anxiety or even depression, it’s time for a hearing test. If your hearing specialist discovers hearing problems, hearing aid options should be talked about. Seeing a good hearing specialist might be all that is needed to feel a whole lot better.