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 undiagnosed and neglected – and that can result in higher depression rates and feelings of isolation in those who suffer from hearing loss.
And it can spiral into a vicious circle where isolation and depression from hearing loss bring about a breakdown in work and personal relationship resulting in even worse depression and isolation. This is a problem that doesn’t have to take place, and managing your hearing loss is the key to ending the downward spiral.
Research Connects Hearing Loss to Depression
Symptoms of depression have been continuously connected, according to numerous studies, to hearing loss. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and paranoia were, according to one study, more likely to affect individuals over the age of 50 who struggle with neglected hearing loss. And it was also more likely that that group would retreat from social engagement. Many reported that they felt as if people were getting frustrated with them for no reason. Still, those who got hearing aids noted improvements in their relationships, and the people around them – friends, co-workers, and family – also saw improvements.
Another study discovered that individuals between the ages of 18 and 70, revealed a more acute sense of depression if they had hearing loss of greater than 25 dB. The only group that didn’t document a higher occurrence of depression even with hearing loss was people 70 years old or older. But all other demographics have people who aren’t getting the help that they require for their hearing loss. A different study found that people who use hearing aids had a lower reported rate of depression symptoms than those subjects who had hearing loss but who didn’t use hearing aids.
Lack of Awareness or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Affects Mental Health
With documented outcomes like those, you would think that people would want to manage their hearing loss. However, two factors have prevented people from seeking help. Some people believe that their hearing is working just fine when it really isn’t. They have themselves convinced that people are mumbling or even that they are speaking quietly on purpose. The other factor is that some people may not realize they have a hearing loss. It seems, to them, that people don’t like to talk to them.
If you are somebody who frequently feels like people are talking quietly or mumbling and it’s causing you to feel anxiety or even depression, it’s time for a hearing examination. If your hearing specialist detects hearing problems, hearing aid solutions should be discussed. Consulting a good hearing specialist may be all that is needed to feel a whole lot better.