Hearing loss is a common problem that can be alleviated easily with the use of hearing aids and assistive listening devices. However, a lot of hearing loss goes undiscovered and neglected – and that can result in greater depression rates and feelings of isolation in people who suffer from hearing loss.
It can also result in a strain in work and personal relationships, which itself adds to more feelings of isolation and depression. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to ending this unnecessary cycle.
Hearing Loss Has Been Connected to Depression by Many Studies
Researchers have discovered in numerous studies that neglected hearing loss is connected to the progression of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new trend. One study of people with untreated hearing loss found that adults 50 years or older were more likely to document symptoms of depression, along with signs of anxiety and paranoia. And it was also more likely that that group would withdraw from social involvement. Many stated that they felt like people were getting frustrated with them for no 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 profound sense of depression is experienced, as documented by a different study, by people who had a 25 decibel or more hearing impairment. Individuals over the age of 70 with a self-reported hearing loss didn’t show a major difference in depression rates compared to people who didn’t suffer from hearing loss. But all other demographics contain people who aren’t getting the help that they need for their hearing loss. A different study discovered that people who use hearing aids had a lower reported rate of depression symptoms than those individuals who had hearing loss but who didn’t use hearing aids.
Mental Health is Affected by Resistance to Wearing Hearing Aids
With documented results like those, you would think that people would wish to treat their hearing loss. But people don’t get help for two principal reasons. First, some people simply don’t recognize that their hearing is that impaired. They assume that people are deliberately speaking quietly or mumbling. Also, it’s fairly common for people to be clueless about their hearing impairment. It seems, to them, that people don’t like to talk to them.
It’s imperative that anyone who has experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression, or the feeling that they are being left out of interactions due to people talking too quietly or mumbling too much, get their hearing checked. If your hearing specialist discovers hearing problems, hearing aid options should be discussed. Seeing a good hearing specialist may be all that is needed to feel much better.