Hearing loss is a prevalent affliction that can be alleviated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. But a greater occurrence of depression and feelings of solitude occurs when hearing loss goes untreated and undiscovered.
It can also lead to a breakdown in work and personal relationships, which itself adds to more feelings of depression and isolation. This is a problem that doesn’t need to happen, and managing your hearing loss is the key to ending the downward spiral.
Research Connects Depression to Hearing Loss
Researchers have discovered in numerous studies that neglected hearing loss is linked to the development of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new trend. One study of people who suffer from untreated hearing loss found that adults 50 years or older were more likely to report symptoms of depression, and signs of anxiety and paranoia. They were also more likely to avoid social experiences. Many couldn’t understand why it seemed like people were getting mad at them. However, those who used hearing aids noted improvements in their relationships, and the people around them – family, co-workers, and friends – also saw improvements.
A more intense sense of depression is encountered, as reported by a different study, by individuals who had a 25 decibel or more hearing impairment. People over the age of 70 with a self-diagnosed hearing loss did not show a major difference in depression rates in comparison to individuals without hearing loss. But that still means that a significant part of the population is not getting the help they need to better their lives. And individuals who took part in another study reported that those people who treated their hearing loss with hearing aids had a lower rate of depression.
Mental Health is Affected by Opposition to Using Hearing Aids
It would seem obvious that with these kinds of results people would want to get help with their hearing loss. But people don’t find help for two principal reasons. Some people think that their hearing is working just fine when it really isn’t. They assume that others are deliberately speaking quietly or mumbling. Also, it’s relatively common for people to be clueless about their hearing impairment. It seems, to them, that people don’t like to talk to them.
It’s vital that anyone 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 options should be discussed. Seeing a good hearing specialist might be all that is needed to feel a whole lot better.