Hearing loss is a common affliction that can be mitigated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. Still, a lot of hearing loss goes undiagnosed and untreated – and that can result in greater depression rates and feelings of solitude in those with hearing loss.
And it can spiral into a vicious circle where isolation and depression from hearing loss bring about a breakdown in personal and work relationship resulting in even worse depression and isolation. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to preventing 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 people with untreated hearing loss discovered 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 got hearing aids reported improvements in their relationships, and the people in their lives – friends, co-workers, and family – also noticed improvements.
A more profound sense of depression is encountered, as reported by a different study, by people who had a 25 decibel or higher hearing impairment. The only group that didn’t report a higher occurrence of depression even with hearing loss was people 70 years old or older. But that still means that a large part of the population is not getting the assistance they need to improve their lives. And individuals who participated in a different study revealed that those participants who treated their hearing loss using hearing aids had a lower rate of depression.
Mental Health is Impacted by Opposition to Using Hearing Aids
With reported outcomes like those, you would think that people would want 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 assume that people are purposely speaking quietly or mumbling. The second factor is that some people might not recognize that they have a hearing impairment. It seems, to them, that people don’t like talking with them.
It’s essential that anyone who has experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression, or the feeling that they are being excluded from interactions due to people speaking too quietly or mumbling too much, get their hearing examined. If your hearing specialist discovers hearing problems, hearing aid options should be talked about. Consulting a good hearing specialist might be all that is needed to feel much better.