Hearing Loss and Depression

Hearing Loss and Depression: A Sad Cause-and-Effect Relationship

As we see with alarming frequency in various news stories these days, particularly those involving suicide, depression is taking an awful toll on people. Even the wealthy and famous are no match for it.

There are many people actively fighting depression by seeking to help those suffering from it, and we in the hearing health industry have an excellent opportunity to do our part. We must do everything we can to encourage individuals diagnosed with hearing loss to pursue solutions for hearing better. We must also encourage those who suspect hearing loss in their loved ones to let those people know and urge them to have their hearing tested.

There’s a lot research out there about the emotional-health threat posed by untreated hearing loss. According to one study, the percentage of depressed adults increases as hearing declines—from 5% in those with no hearing problems to more than 11 percent in those who have them.

Untreated hearing loss has also been connected to social isolation, loneliness and cognition problems that increase the risk of depression—particularly in seniors.

How does that happen? When someone with hearing loss is unable to make out what people are saying in social situations— for instance, at gatherings where there is a lot of background noise—they can begin to feel distanced from conversations. The constant experience of feeling almost alone in a roomful of people, due to the frustration of struggling to hear, may lead to avoiding the next invitation altogether, and the next, and the next. It’s no surprise that such continued avoidance of social interaction could lead to loneliness and isolation.

Seeking the expertise of the hearing heath community can help a great deal in avoiding an increased risk of depression. It has been found that simply wearing hearing aids makes people with hearing loss less likely to report anxiety and paranoia, and more likely to participate in organized social activities that provide opportunities for interaction and conversation.

Seniors who wear hearing aids have reported better family relationships, more confidence and better mental health, as well as increased independence and security. And it’s not just them saying so—family members say that using hearing aids allows hearing loss sufferers to have better relationships with their children and grandchildren.

It has also been shown that elderly seniors who get hearing aids have a reduced degree of depression.

We’re ready to do our part in fighting loneliness and depression at Legacy Hearing Centre. Please, if you suspect hearing loss in yourself, seek us out. If you suspect it in someone else, please let them know. Individuals with hearing loss, particularly older sufferers, can tend to deny just how bad their hearing is getting; the caring words of a loved one can be just the encouragement they need to make a life-changing decision.