Hearing is a major way we navigate and experience everyday life. So when hearing is impaired, the effects can be significant. In addition to straingin communication, untreated hearing loss can impact relationships, social life, and overall health. It can also take a toll on one’s mood and how you feel on a daily basis. This is evidenced by the extensive research that shows that untreated hearing loss is linked to increased rates of depression, a mental health condition that significantly impacts mood.
Hearing Loss & Depression
There is substantial research that shows a link between hearing loss and depression. This includes a major study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery. Researchers evaluated data on hearing loss as well as depressive symptoms for 18,318 people. They found that the prevalence of moderate to severe depression was:
- 4.9% for individuals reporting excellent hearing
- 11.4% for people who reported a little to greater hearing loss
This significant finding shows that people with hearing loss were more than twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms compared to people without hearing loss.
Another recent study that explores this link was published in the Gerontologist. Researchers assessed the findings from 35 studies which included 147,148 participants who were at least 60 years old. They found that compared to people without hearing loss, adults with some degree of impaired hearing were 47% more likely to have depressive symptoms. In addition to highlighting a correlation between hearing loss and depression, studies also show that the degree of hearing loss can further increase the risk of experiencing depressive symptoms. In one study, researchers evaluated the hearing capacities and mental health among 1,511 people. They found that the risk of developing depression increased by 5% with every incremental decrease in hearing capacity among adults 70 years old and under.
Impact of Hearing Loss on Mood
These studies are part of extensive research that shows that hearing loss can have psychological effects that not only impact mood, but mental health and wellness. There are several ways it can do this including:
- Producing social withdrawal: hearing loss produces various symptoms that make it tough to navigate conversations. Communication requires more work and energy as a result and this can lead to fatigue. It is common for people to avoid conversations as much as possible, leading to social withdrawal. This can look like spending less time with others, avoiding social settings, and participating less in social activities.
- Straining relationships: strained communication and social withdrawal can take a toll on relationships. Spending quality time with loved ones happens less, arguments over the volume of the TV or you not paying attention may happen more etc. This can lead to frustration and distance, straining relationships.
- Increasing health risks: untreated hearing loss can also increase health risks. This includes cognitive decline, falls, accidental injuries, and depressive symptoms.
These outcomes of untreated hearing loss can dramatically impact health and mood. This highlights the importance of early intervention and seeking treatment that effectively addresses hearing loss.
Treatment Improves Mood
Treating hearing loss offers numerous benefits including improving mood and boosting mental health. The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids which are electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplify, and process speech as well as sound. This transforms hearing health by alleviating hearing loss symptoms and increasing capacity to hear. These benefits not only strengthen hearing and communication, but also improve mood.
A significant study that highlights the impact of hearing aids on mood involved evaluating the 113 hearing aid wearers. Researchers assessed people after 6 months of wearing hearing aids and again after one year of wearing hearing aids. They found that depressive symptoms improved by 28% after 6 months of wearing hearing aids and by another 16% by one year. These findings highlight how hearing aids can support mental health and wellness which improves mood.
Prioritize Your Hearing Health Today
Prioritizing your hearing health involves one simple step: scheduling an appointment for a hearing evaluation. Contact us today to have your hearing comprehensively assessed. Once we identify your hearing needs, we can tailor treatment to meet those needs. Accessing treatment can significantly improve your quality of life and how you feel daily.
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