Hearing loss is a prevalent problem that can be mitigated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. But a higher occurrence of depression and feelings of isolation happens when hearing loss goes untreated and undiagnosed.
And it can spiral into a vicious circle where solitude and depression from hearing loss bring about a breakdown in work and personal relationship leading to even worse depression and isolation. Getting hearing loss treated is the key to ending this unnecessary cycle.
Research Connects Depression to Hearing Loss
Researchers have found in several studies that untreated hearing loss is linked to the development of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new trend. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and paranoia were, based upon one study, more likely to impact people over the age of 50 who have untreated hearing loss. They were also more likely to refrain from social experiences. Many couldn’t comprehend why it seemed like people were getting mad at them. However, those who got hearing aids noted improvements in their relationships, and the people around them – friends, co-workers, and family – also observed improvements.
Another study found that individuals between the ages of 18 and 70, revealed a greater sense of depression if they suffered from hearing loss of more than 25 dB. The only group that didn’t document an increased incidence of depression even with hearing loss was individuals over the age of 70. But that still means that a large part of the population is not getting the assistance they need to better their lives. Another study found that hearing aid users 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 Impacted by Resistance to Wearing Hearing Aids
With documented outcomes like those, you would imagine that people would need to manage their hearing loss. But people don’t get help for two principal reasons. One is that some simply don’t think their hearing is that bad. They have themselves convinced that people are mumbling or even that they are speaking softly on purpose. Also, it’s relatively common for people to be clueless about their hearing impairment. To them, it seems as if other people don’t want to talk to them.
If you are somebody who frequently thinks people are speaking quietly or mumbling and it’s causing you to feel anxiety or even depression, it’s time for a hearing test. If your hearing specialist discovers hearing problems, hearing aid options should be discussed. Seeing a good hearing specialist might be all that is needed to feel a whole lot better.