Hearing loss is a common problem that can be mitigated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. Still, a lot of hearing loss goes undiagnosed and neglected – and that can lead to higher depression rates and feelings of isolation in those with hearing loss.
And it can spiral into a vicious circle where isolation and depression from hearing loss cause a breakdown in personal and work relationship leading to even worse depression and solitude. Treating hearing loss is the key to stopping this unnecessary cycle.
Research Connects Hearing Loss to Depression
Researchers have found in several studies that untreated hearing loss is connected to the advancement of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new phenomenon. One study of individuals who suffer from untreated hearing loss discovered that adults 50 years or older were more likely to report symptoms of depression, and signs of paranoia or anxiety. They were also more likely to stay away from social experiences. Many reported that they felt as if people were getting angry at them for no reason. However, relationships were enhanced for people who got hearing aids, who reported that friends, family, and co-workers all recognized the difference.
A different study discovered that individuals between the ages of 18 and 70, revealed a more acute feeling of depression if they suffered from hearing loss of greater than 25 decibels. The only group that didn’t report an increased incidence of depression even with hearing loss was individuals 70 years old or older. But all other demographics have individuals who aren’t getting the help that they need for their hearing loss. Another study found that people who use hearing aids had a lower reported rate of depression symptoms than those individuals who had hearing loss but who didn’t use hearing aids.
Mental Health is Impacted by Resistance to Wearing Hearing Aids
It seems apparent that with these kinds of results people would want to get assistance with their hearing loss. However, two factors have stopped people from seeking help. First, some people simply don’t recognize that their hearing is that bad. They think that people are intentionally talking quietly or mumbling. The second factor is that some people may not realize they have a hearing loss. To them, it seems as if other people don’t want 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 due to people speaking too quietly or mumbling too much, get their hearing checked. If there’s hearing loss, that person needs to discuss which hearing aid is best for them. Seeing a good hearing specialist might be all that is needed to feel much better.