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

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

The impact of hearing loss on mental health has only been addressed by a few studies even though hearing loss is very prevalent.

Studies have revealed that more than 11 percent of individuals with measurable hearing loss also had symptoms of clinical depression. This is noteworthy because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Basic questionnaires were based on self-reporting of hearing loss and assessed depression based on the severity and frequency of symptoms. Individuals who were between 18 and 69 had the highest instance of depression. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a researcher at NICDC and the author of this study, discovered “a significant connection between profound depression and hearing loss”.

Neglected Hearing Loss Doubles Your Chances of Depression

Age related hearing loss is very common in older individuals and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the danger of depression increases the more severe the hearing loss is. Participants were assessed for depression after taking an audiometric hearing test. This study also reported that the risk of depression nearly doubles in people with even minor hearing loss. What’s more, many older than 70 who suffer from mild hearing loss (which has also been known to raise the danger of cognitive impairment and dementia) aren’t diagnosed or treated. While the studies cannot prove that one is caused by the other, it is clear that it is a contributor.

Hearing is essential to being active and communicating successfully. Hearing issues can lead to professional and social blunders that trigger anxiety and embarrassment, and potentially loss of self-confidence. Progressive withdrawal can be the result if these feelings are left unaddressed. People start to steer clear of physical activity and isolate themselves from family and friends. Over time, this can result in isolation, loneliness – and depression.

Hearing Isn’t Simply About The Ears

Hearing loss and its link to depression underscores that hearing loss isn’t only about the ears. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and general health are all impacted by your hearing. This emphasizes the critical role of the hearing care professional within the scope of general healthcare. Confusion, frustration, and fatigue are frequently an issue for people who deal with hearing loss.

The good news: Finding professional care and testing at the soonest sign of a hearing problem helps counter this issue. These risks are substantially reduced, according to research, with early treatment. Routine hearing exams need to be recommended by doctors. After all, hearing loss is not the only thing a hearing test can detect. And with individuals who may be coping with hearing loss, caregivers need to watch for symptoms of depression. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, impatience, and overall loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.

Don’t suffer in silence. Call us to schedule an appointment if you believe you might have hearing loss.

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