Hearing loss is a prevalent affliction that can be mitigated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. However, a lot of hearing loss goes undiagnosed and neglected – and that can lead to greater depression rates and feelings of solitude in those with hearing loss.
It can also result in a breakdown in personal and work relationships, which itself adds to more feelings of depression and isolation. Treating hearing loss is the key to ending this unnecessary cycle.
Studies Link Hearing Loss to Depression
Researchers have discovered in numerous studies that untreated hearing loss is connected to the development of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new trend. Symptoms of anxiety, depression, and paranoia were, according to one study, more likely to affect people over the age of 50 who struggle with untreated hearing loss. And it was also more likely that those people would retreat from social engagement. Many said that they felt as if people were getting angry at them for no reason. However, relationships were enhanced for individuals who wore hearing aids, who noted that friends, family, and co-workers all noticed the difference.
A different study found that individuals between the ages of 18 and 70, revealed a greater sense of depression if they had hearing loss of greater than 25 decibels. People over the age of 70 with a self-diagnosed hearing loss didn’t show a major contrast in depression rates compared to people who didn’t suffer from hearing loss. But all other demographics have individuals who aren’t getting the help that they need for their hearing loss. And individuals who took part in another study revealed that those participants who treated their hearing loss with hearing aids had a lower depression rate.
ignorance or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Affects Mental Health
It would seem obvious that with these kinds of outcomes people would wish to get assistance with their hearing loss. But people don’t seek out help for two main reasons. First, some people simply don’t recognize that their hearing is that bad. They assume that people are purposely speaking quietly or mumbling. Also, it’s quite common for people to be clueless about their hearing impairment. It seems, to them, that people don’t like talking with them.
It’s imperative that anyone who has experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety, or the sense that they are being excluded from interactions because they are talking too quietly or mumbling too much, have their hearing checked. If there’s hearing loss, that person should talk about which hearing aid is right for them. Seeing a good hearing specialist might be all that is needed to feel a whole lot better.