Hearing loss is a prevalent affliction that can be alleviated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. Still, a lot of hearing loss goes undiagnosed and untreated – and that can lead to higher depression rates and feelings of isolation in those with hearing loss.
It can also lead to a strain in personal and work relationships, which itself contributes to more feelings of isolation and depression. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to ending this unnecessary cycle.
Hearing Loss Has Been Linked to Depression by Many Studies
Researchers have discovered in numerous studies that untreated hearing loss is connected to the progression of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new phenomenon. One study of people with neglected hearing loss found that adults 50 years or older were more likely to report symptoms of depression, along with signs of anxiety and paranoia. And it was also more likely that that group would retreat from social engagement. Many said that they felt as if people were getting frustrated with them for no apparent reason. However, relationships were enhanced for people who got hearing aids, who reported that friends, family, and co-workers all noticed the difference.
A more intense sense of depression is experienced, as reported by a different study, by individuals who suffered from 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 over the age of 70. But that still means that a significant part of the population is not getting the assistance they need to better their lives. A different study revealed that people who use hearing aids had a lower reported rate of depression symptoms than those individuals who had hearing loss but who did not use hearing aids.
Lack of Awareness or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Impacts Mental Health
It seems apparent that with these kinds of outcomes people would want to seek out help with their hearing loss. But people don’t seek out help for two principal reasons. Some people think that their hearing is working just fine when it actually isn’t. They have themselves convinced that people are mumbling or even that they are speaking softly on purpose. Also, it’s relatively common for people to be clueless about their hearing problem. It seems, to them, that people don’t like talking with them.
It’s vital that anybody who has experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety, or the feeling that they are being excluded from interactions due to people speaking too quietly or mumbling too much, have their hearing checked. If your hearing specialist finds hearing problems, hearing aid options should be talked about. You could possibly feel much better if you go to see a hearing specialist.