Hearing Aids Are Found to Improve Depressive Symptoms

In Mental Health by Bary E. Williams Au.D.

Adjusting to hearing loss can be very mentally and emotionally difficult. While the loss of hearing itself can be difficult, the work it takes to simply adjust to the new realities of different hearing capabilities can have ripple effects across all aspects of one’s physical and mental wellbeing. Furthermore, the road to treating hearing loss and to adjusting to new communication patterns can be quite daunting.

Treating hearing loss is not only about creating better hearing environments but is also about ensuring that feelings of social isolation, of anxiety, and of depression are diminished. Indeed, people who are experiencing hearing loss can often find themselves receding from or wanting to avoid loved ones, friends, and people at work. They can feel anxious about being in public spaces where there may be lots of different and competing sounds that make it difficult to understand conversations.

When a person does not feel like they can hear well, they are at greater risk for feeling like they are not making connections with the world around them. The feelings of isolation and depression that can result from this feel almost insurmountable.

Studies on Hearing Loss & Depression

Many studies have been conducted that have found links between hearing loss and depression, including studies done by researchers at the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, by The National Council on the Aging, by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and other organizations. One 2014 study published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery was conducted by Dr. Chuan-Ming Li of the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Li and their team used data from a survey of 18,000 people over the age of 18 that was collected from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. People in the study who were over the age of 70 were given hearing tests while people who were younger than that self-reported their hearing status. Researchers also administered a questionnaire to the study participants that helped them understand the prevalence of depression amongst them—the study found that depression increased as hearing loss increased.

Treating Hearing Loss

Treating hearing loss with hearing aids is an easy and painless process that can lessen the effects of depression, or ward it off altogether. Hearing loss cannot be repaired or fix, but hearing aids can improve the hearing capabilities that do exist. They are electronic devices that amplify some sounds and, because of their abilities to amplify certain sounds, they can make it easier for people with a range of hearing needs to distinguish unique sounds in their everyday lives.

The first thing to do to treat hearing loss is to find a hearing health professional. Our team at Exceptional Hearing Care is here to support you as you seek out solutions that will best suit your needs. With your hearing test results, our team will help determine whether you need a Behind the ear (BTE), receiver in the ear (RITE), or receiver in the canal (RIC) hearing aids—devices that have excellent battery power and are great for those with moderate to severe hearing loss. You may instead need a hearing aids that fits entirely inside of your ear canal, whether that be an Invisible-in-Canal (IIC) or Completely-in-Canal (CIC) styles, which are great for people who have moderate hearing loss. There are larger and powerful devices that are well-suited for people with more complex hearing assistance needs and for people with severe hearing loss. The In-the-Ear (ITE) and In-The-Canal (ITC) hearing aid sit within the “ear bowl,” are typically custom-fit, and have large and strong batteries.

Benefits of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids can be critical to maintaining current hearing health and ensuring future healthy hearing habits, reducing the risk of depression associated with hearing loss. Treating hearing loss will likely make you more comfortable entering into situations where you may have previously had difficulties hearing or engaging in conversation and your mood will most certainly improve when you feel more integrated into all aspects of your home and work life.

Hearing aids will help you adjust to new communication patterns and styles. These changes in your hearing will have immeasurable effects on how you feel connected to friends and loved ones, and will go a long way in staving off the isolation and depression that often accompany untreated hearing loss.

Exceptional Hearing Care

Have you experienced changes in your hearing? Are you ready to find a solution? Our team at Exceptional Hearing Care is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a hearing test and to learn more!

Bary E. Williams Au.D.
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