Hearing Aids can help minimize the negative effects of the common condition of hearing loss. However, a lot of hearing loss goes undiagnosed and neglected – and that can lead to greater depression rates and feelings of solitude in those with hearing loss.
It can also result in a breakdown in work and personal relationships, which itself adds to more feelings of isolation and depression. This is a difficulty that doesn’t need to happen, and managing your hearing loss is the best way to end the downward spiral.
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 trend. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and paranoia were, as reported by one study, more likely to affect people over 50 who have neglected hearing loss. And it was also more likely that that group would retreat from social involvement. Many couldn’t understand why it seemed like people were getting angry with them. Still, those who got hearing aids reported improvements in their relationships, and the people around them – friends, co-workers, and family – also observed improvements.
A more profound sense of depression is experienced, as documented by a different study, by people who suffered from a 25 decibel or higher hearing impairment. Individuals over 70 with a self-diagnosed hearing loss did not demonstrate a major difference in depression rates compared to individuals without hearing loss. But that still means that a significant part of the population is not getting the assistance they need to improve their lives. 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.
Lack of Awareness or Unwillingness to Use Hearing Aids Impacts Mental Health
It would seem obvious that with these kinds of outcomes people would wish to get help with their hearing loss. But people don’t seek out help for two principal reasons. One is that some simply don’t recognize that their hearing is that impaired. They think that people are deliberately talking quietly or mumbling. The second factor is that some people might not realize they have a hearing impairment. It seems, to them, that people don’t like to talk to them.
It’s imperative that anybody who has experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety, or the feeling that they are being excluded from interactions because they are speaking too quietly or mumbling too much, get their hearing tested. If there is hearing loss, that person needs to discuss which hearing aid is right for them. Seeing a good hearing specialist might be all that is needed to feel much better.