Hearing loss is a prevalent affliction that can be mitigated easily with the use of hearing aids and assistive listening devices. But a higher incident of depression and feelings of solitude happens when hearing loss is neglected and undiagnosed.
And it can spiral into a vicious circle where isolation and depression from hearing loss bring about a breakdown in work and personal relationship leading to even worse depression and solitude. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to preventing this unnecessary cycle.
Studies Link Hearing Loss to Depression
Researchers have found in numerous studies that neglected hearing loss is connected to the progression of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new phenomenon. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and paranoia were, as reported by one study, more likely to affect individuals over 50 who struggle with untreated hearing loss. They were also more likely to avoid social activities. Many said that they felt as if people were getting angry at them for no apparent reason. Still, those who got hearing aids reported improvements in their relationships, and the people around them – family, co-workers, and friends – also saw improvements.
A more profound sense of depression is encountered, as reported by a different study, by individuals who had a 25 decibel or more hearing impairment. 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 contain people who aren’t receiving the help that they require for their hearing loss. A different study found that hearing aid users had a lower reported rate of depression symptoms than those individuals who had hearing loss but who did not use hearing aids.
Lack of Awareness or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Affects Mental Health
With reported results like those, you might imagine that people would need to treat their hearing loss. But people don’t seek out help for two main reasons. One is that some simply don’t recognize that their hearing is that impaired. They have themselves convinced that people are mumbling or even that they are speaking quietly on purpose. The second factor is that some people might not recognize that they have a hearing loss. It seems, to them, that people don’t like talking with them.
It’s imperative that anybody who has experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression, or the feeling that they are being excluded from interactions due to people talking too quietly or mumbling too much, have their hearing examined. If your hearing specialist discovers hearing problems, hearing aid solutions should be talked about. Consulting a good hearing specialist may be all that is needed to feel a whole lot better.