Hearing loss is a prevalent problem that can be mitigated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. Still, a lot of hearing loss goes undiscovered and neglected – and that can result in greater depression rates and feelings of solitude in those with hearing loss.
And it can quickly become a vicious circle where solitude and depression from hearing loss cause a breakdown in personal and work relationship leading to even worse depression and solitude. This is a problem that doesn’t have to happen, and managing your hearing loss is the best way to end the downward spiral.
Studies Link Depression to Hearing Loss
Symptoms of depression have been continuously connected, according to numerous studies, to hearing loss. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and paranoia were, as reported by one study, more likely to affect individuals over the age of 50 who struggle with untreated hearing loss. They were also more likely to stay away from social experiences. Many said that they felt like people were getting frustrated with them for no apparent reason. Still, those who wore hearing aids reported improvements in their relationships, and the people in their lives – family, co-workers, and friends – also noticed improvements.
Another study found that people between the ages of 18 and 70, revealed a more acute sense of depression if they suffered from hearing loss of more than 25 dB. The only group that didn’t document a higher incidence 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 help they require to improve their lives. And people who participated in another study revealed that those participants who treated their hearing loss with hearing aids had a lower rate of depression.
Lack of Awareness or Unwillingness to Wear Hearing Aids Impacts Mental Health
It would seem obvious that with these kinds of outcomes people would want to get assistance with their hearing loss. But people don’t seek out help for two principal reasons. First, some people simply don’t think their hearing is that impaired. They assume that others are deliberately speaking quietly or mumbling. The second factor is that some people may not realize they have a hearing loss. To them, it seems as if others don’t want to talk to them.
If you are someone who regularly thinks people are speaking quietly or mumbling and it’s causing you to feel anxiety or even depression, it’s time for a hearing examination. If there’s hearing loss, that person should discuss which hearing aid is best for them. Seeing a good hearing specialist might be all that is needed to feel a whole lot better.