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New research has demonstrated a strong link between hearing loss and mental health.

Beyond this connection, both disorders have something else in common – they frequently go unacknowledged and untreated by patients and health professionals. For millions of individuals who are looking for solutions to mental health problems, acknowledging this connection could lead to potential improvements.

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

Out of all individuals who are diagnosed with hearing loss, studies show that over 11 percent of them also deal with clinical depression. Depression was only reported by 5 percent of the general population so this finding is noteworthy. Basic questionnaires were based on self-reporting of hearing loss and considered depression based on the frequency and severity of symptoms. They found depression was most prevalent in individuals between the ages of 18 and 69. The author of the study and a scientist at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, noted “a considerable association between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.

Untreated Hearing Loss Doubles Your Risk of Depression

Age related hearing loss is quite common in older people and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the danger of depression goes up the more severe the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants took an evaluation for depression. Once more, researchers found that individuals with even a little bit of hearing loss were almost twice as likely to experience depression. Even more startling, mild hearing loss often goes undiagnosed and untreated by many individuals over 70 which has also been shown to raise the danger of cognitive decline and dementia. Obviously, there’s a link between the two even though a strong cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been demonstrated.

In order to communicate effectively and remain active, hearing is crucial. Hearing issues can lead to professional and social blunders that cause anxiety and embarrassment, and potentially loss of self-esteem. If not addressed, these feelings can lead to a gradual withdrawal. People begin to steer clear of physical activity and isolate themselves from family and friends. This seclusion, after a while, can result in depression and loneliness.

Hearing Isn’t Just About Your Ears

Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its association with depression. Hearing impacts your overall health, the brain, quality of life, and healthy aging. This shows that within your overall healthcare, your hearing professional is an important part. Individuals with hearing loss frequently deal with fatigue, confusion, and aggravation.

The good news: Seeking professional care and testing at the earliest sign of a hearing problem helps prevent this issue. Studies demonstrate that treating hearing loss early greatly reduces their risk. It is essential that physicians recommend regular hearing tests. After all, hearing loss is not the only thing a hearing test can diagnose. And with individuals who may be coping with hearing loss, care providers need to look for symptoms of depression. Exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, impatience, and general loss of interest and sadness are all symptoms.

Never dismiss your symptoms. Call us 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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