Hearing Aids can help reduce the negative effects of the prevalent condition of hearing loss. 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 quickly become a vicious circle where solitude and depression from hearing loss bring about a breakdown in work and personal relationship leading to even worse depression and solitude. Treating hearing loss is the key to ending this unnecessary cycle.
Studies Link Depression to Hearing Loss
Researchers have discovered in several studies that untreated hearing loss is connected to the advancement of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new phenomenon. Symptoms of anxiety, depression, and paranoia were, as reported by one study, more likely to affect individuals over the age of 50 who struggle with untreated hearing loss. And it was also more likely that that group would retreat from social engagement. Many said that they felt like people were getting angry at them for no reason. However, relationships were improved for people who used hearing aids, who stated that friends, family, and co-workers all recognized the difference.
A different study discovered that individuals between the ages of 18 and 70, reported a more acute feeling of depression if they suffered from hearing loss of more than 25 dB. The only group that didn’t document an increased occurrence of depression even with hearing loss was people over the age of 70. But that still indicates that a large part of the population is not getting the help they require to better their lives. And individuals who participated in a different study reported that those people who managed their hearing loss using hearing aids had a lower depression rate.
Lack of Awareness or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Affects Mental Health
It seems apparent that with these kinds of results people would wish to get help with their hearing loss. But people don’t get help for two main reasons. Some people assume that their hearing is functioning just fine when it actually isn’t. They have themselves convinced that others are mumbling or even that they are talking softly on purpose. Also, it’s fairly common for people to have no clue they have a hearing problem. To them, it seems like 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 due to people speaking too quietly or mumbling too much, have their hearing checked. If your hearing specialist discovers hearing problems, hearing aid options should be discussed. Consulting a good hearing specialist may be all that is needed to feel much better.