Hearing loss is a common affliction that can be alleviated easily by using hearing aids and assistive listening devices. But a greater occurrence of depression and feelings of solitude occurs when hearing loss goes untreated and undiscovered.
And it can spiral into a vicious circle where solitude and depression from hearing loss bring about a breakdown in personal and work relationship leading to even worse depression and isolation. This is a difficulty that doesn’t have to happen, and managing your hearing loss is the key to ending the downward spiral.
Research Connects Hearing Loss to Depression
Researchers have found in several studies that neglected hearing loss is connected to the development of depressive symptoms – and this isn’t a new phenomenon. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and paranoia were, based upon one study, more likely to impact people over 50 who struggle with neglected hearing loss. They were also more likely to refrain from social activities. Many couldn’t understand why it seemed like people were getting angry with them. Still, those who wore hearing aids noted improvements in their relationships, and the people in their lives – friends, co-workers, and family – also noticed improvements.
A different study discovered that people between the ages of 18 and 70, reported a more acute feeling of depression if they suffered from hearing loss of greater than 25 dB. The only group that didn’t document an increased occurrence of depression even with hearing loss was individuals 70 years old or older. But that still means that a large part of the population is not getting the assistance they require to improve their lives. And individuals who participated in another study revealed that those participants who managed their hearing loss with hearing aids had a lower depression rate.
Mental Health is Impacted by Resistance to Using Hearing Aids
It would seem obvious that with these kinds of results people would want to get help with their hearing loss. But people don’t get help for two main reasons. One is that some simply don’t recognize that their hearing is that bad. They assume that people are deliberately speaking quietly or mumbling. Also, it’s relatively common for people to have no clue they have a hearing impairment. It seems, to them, that people don’t like to talk to them.
It’s essential that anyone who has experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression, or the sense that they are being excluded from interactions because they are speaking too quietly or mumbling too much, get their hearing checked. If there is hearing loss, that person should discuss which hearing aid is best for them. Seeing a good hearing specialist might be all that is needed to feel much better.