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There is a solid correlation between mental health and hearing loss according to new studies.

And there’s something else that both of these disorders have in common – they frequently go overlooked and neglected by health professionals and patients. Realizing there is a relationship could potentially improve mental health for millions of people and provide hope as they look for solutions.

We know that hearing loss is common, but only a handful of studies have addressed its effect on mental health.

Out of all people who are diagnosed with hearing loss, research shows that over 11 percent of them also have clinical depression. This is noteworthy because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Standard questionnaires were based on self-reporting of hearing loss and considered depression based on the frequency and severity of symptoms. They found depression was most widespread in individuals between the ages of 18 and 69. The author of the study and a researcher at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, noticed “a significant association between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.

Your Risk of Depression Doubles With Untreated Hearing Loss

Age related hearing loss is extremely common in older people and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the danger of depression goes up the worse the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants took an evaluation for depression. This research also reported that the risk of depression nearly doubles in people with even slight hearing loss. In addition, many over the age of 70 who have slight hearing loss (which has also been known to raise the risk of cognitive decline and dementia) aren’t diagnosed or treated. Clearly, there’s a link between the two even though a strong cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been demonstrated.

In order to communicate effectively and continue to be active, hearing is crucial. Hearing problems can lead to professional and social blunders that cause anxiety and embarrassment, and potentially loss of self-confidence. Gradual withdrawal can be the outcome if these feelings are left unaddressed. People withdraw from friends and family and also from physical activity. After a while, this can lead to solitude, loneliness – and depression.

Hearing is About More Than Just Ears

Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its connection with depression. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and overall health are all impacted by your hearing. This emphasizes the crucial role of the hearing care professional within the scope of general healthcare. Confusion, aggravation, and exhaustion are frequently an issue for individuals who have hearing loss.

The good news: The issue can be substantially enhanced by getting a hearing test and treatment as soon as you recognize hearing loss symptoms. These risks are greatly decreased, according to research, with early treatment. It is essential that physicians advise regular hearing tests. After all, hearing loss isn’t the only thing a hearing exam can diagnose. And with people who may be coping with hearing loss, care providers need to watch for signs of depression. Exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and overall loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.

Never dismiss your symptoms. If you suspect you have hearing loss, give us a call to schedule a hearing test.

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References

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/fullarticle/1835392
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/article-abstract/2781095
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/fullarticle/2682653

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