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New research has shown a strong correlation between hearing loss and mental health.

Besides this link, both disorders have something else in common – they often go overlooked and neglected by patients and health professionals. Recognizing there is a relationship could potentially improve mental health for millions of individuals and provide hope as they look for solutions.

The effect of hearing loss on mental health has only been dealt with by a few studies even though hearing loss is very common.

Research has revealed that more than 11 percent of people with measurable hearing loss also had signs of clinical depression. This is significant because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Depression was analyzed by the frequency and severity of the symptoms and a basic questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was used. They discovered depression was most widespread in individuals between the ages of 18 and 69. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a researcher at NICDC and the author of this study, discovered “a substantial connection between severe depression and hearing loss”.

Your Chance of Depression Doubles With Neglected Hearing Loss

Age related hearing loss is quite common in older individuals and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the danger of depression rises the more severe the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants took an evaluation for depression. This research also revealed that the risk of depression nearly doubles in people with even slight hearing loss. What’s more, many older than 70 who suffer from slight hearing loss (which has also been known to raise the chance of cognitive decline and dementia) aren’t diagnosed or treated. While the research doesn’t prove that one is caused by the other, it is obvious that it is a contributor.

Hearing is crucial to being active and communicating successfully. Anxiety, embarrassment, and potential loss of self-confidence can be the consequence of the professional and social blunders that come with hearing loss. If left unaddressed, these feelings can result in a gradual withdrawal. Individuals withdraw from family and friends as well as from physical activity. After a while, this can result in isolation, loneliness – and depression.

Hearing Isn’t Only About Your Ears

Hearing loss and its association with depression underscores that hearing loss isn’t only about the ears. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and overall health are all affected by your hearing. This emphasizes the vital role of the hearing care professional within the scope of general healthcare. People with hearing loss frequently struggle with exhaustion, confusion, and frustration.

The good news: The issue can be substantially improved by getting a hearing test and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. Studies show that treating hearing loss early greatly reduces their risk. It is essential that physicians advise regular hearing tests. After all, hearing loss is not the only thing a hearing exam can detect. And with people who may be coping with hearing loss, care providers need to look for symptoms of depression. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, impatience, and overall loss of interest and sadness are all symptoms.

Never ignore your symptoms. If you think you have hearing loss, call us to schedule a hearing assessment.

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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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