Hearing Aids can help reduce the negative consequence of the prevalent condition of hearing loss. However, a lot of hearing loss goes undiscovered and untreated – 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 contributes to more feelings of depression and isolation. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to ending this unnecessary cycle.
Research Connects Hearing Loss to Depression
Symptoms of depression have been continuously connected, according to several studies, to hearing loss. One study of individuals who suffer from neglected hearing loss found that adults 50 years or older were more likely to document symptoms of depression, along with signs of anxiety and paranoia. They were also more likely to refrain from social activities. Many said that they felt as if people were getting frustrated with them for no apparent reason. However, relationships were improved for individuals who got hearing aids, who reported that friends, family, and co-workers all noticed the difference.
A more profound sense of depression is encountered, as reported by a different study, by individuals who suffered from a 25 decibel or higher hearing impairment. Individuals over the age of 70 with a self-reported hearing loss did not demonstrate a major difference in depression rates in comparison to individuals who didn’t suffer from hearing loss. But that still indicates that a large part of the population is not getting the help they require to better their lives. Another study discovered 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.
Lack of Awareness or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Impacts Mental Health
With documented outcomes like those, you would think that people would wish to treat their hearing loss. But people don’t find help for two main reasons. Some people believe that their hearing is working just fine when it actually isn’t. They think that people are intentionally talking quietly or mumbling. Also, it’s relatively common for people to be clueless about their hearing impairment. To them, it seems as if other people don’t want to talk to them.
It’s imperative that anyone who has experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression, or the sense that they are being excluded from interactions because they are speaking too quietly or mumbling too much, have their hearing examined. If there’s hearing loss, that person needs to discuss which hearing aid is best for them. Seeing a good hearing specialist may be all that is needed to feel much better.