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There is a strong correlation between mental health and hearing loss according to new research.

Beyond this relationship, both conditions have something else in common – health professionals and patients frequently fail to acknowledge and address them. For millions of people who are looking for solutions to mental health problems, acknowledging this connection could bring potential improvements.

We understand that hearing loss is widespread, but only a few studies have addressed its impact on mental health.

Research has revealed that more than 11 percent of individuals with measurable hearing loss also had signs of clinical depression. Depression was only reported by 5 percent of the general population so this finding is significant. Depression was evaluated by the frequency and severity of the symptoms and a basic questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was utilized. People who were between 18 and 69 had the highest instance of depression. The author of the study and a scientist at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, noticed “a considerable connection between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.

Your Chance of Depression Doubles With Untreated Hearing Loss

Age related hearing loss is quite common in older people and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the chance of depression rises the more severe the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants were evaluated for depression. This study also reported that the chance of depression almost doubles in individuals with even minor hearing loss. Even more alarming, mild hearing loss frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated by many individuals over 70 which has also been demonstrated to increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Clearly, there’s a connection between the two even though a strong cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been demonstrated.

In order to communicate efficiently and stay active, hearing is crucial. Anxiety, embarrassment, and potential loss of self-confidence can be the result of the social and professional blunders that come with hearing loss. If not addressed, these feelings can result in a steady withdrawal. People start to avoid physical activity and isolate themselves from friends and family. After a while, this can result in solitude, 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 impacted by your hearing. This emphasizes the critical role of the hearing care professional within the scope of general healthcare. People with hearing loss often deal with exhaustion, confusion, and frustration.

The good news: The issue can be significantly enhanced by having a hearing exam and treatment as soon as you recognize hearing loss symptoms. Studies suggest that treating hearing loss early greatly reduces their risk. It is vital that physicians endorse regular hearing exams. Hearing loss isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can reveal, after all. And with people who might be coping with hearing loss, care providers need to look for indications of depression. Exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, impatience, and general loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.

Don’t suffer alone. Give us a call to make an appointment if you suspect you may have hearing loss.

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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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