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

Beyond this connection, both conditions have something else in common – they frequently go overlooked and untreated by health professionals and patients. Knowing there is a relationship could potentially enhance mental health for millions of people and provide hope as they seek solutions.

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

Research has found that more than 11 percent of people with measurable hearing loss also had symptoms of clinical depression. Depression was only reported by 5 percent of the general population so this finding is significant. Depression was analyzed by the severity and frequency of the symptoms and a standard questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was utilized. People who were between 18 and 69 had the highest rate of depression. The author of the study and a researcher at NIDCD, Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, noticed “a significant connection between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression”.

Your Risk of Depression Doubles With Neglected Hearing Loss

Age related hearing loss is very 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. Participants were assessed for depression after taking an audiometric hearing test. Once more, researchers found that people with even a little bit of hearing loss were almost two times as likely to have depression. Even more alarming, mild hearing loss often goes undiagnosed and untreated by many individuals over 70 which has also been demonstrated to raise the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Clearly, there’s a connection between the two even though a direct cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been established.

Hearing is crucial to being active and communicating successfully. Embarrassment, anxiety, and potential loss of self-esteem can be the result of the social and professional blunders that come with hearing loss. If not addressed, these feelings can result in a gradual withdrawal. Individuals withdraw from friends and family as well as from physical activity. This seclusion, after a while, can lead to depression and loneliness.

Hearing is About More Than Just Ears

Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its relationship with depression. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and overall health are all impacted by your hearing. This emphasizes the crucial role of the hearing care professional within the scope of overall healthcare. Confusion, frustration, and fatigue are often an issue for people who deal with hearing loss.

The good news: The problem can be significantly enhanced by getting a hearing exam and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. These risks are substantially reduced, according to studies, with early treatment. It is vital that physicians advise regular hearing exams. After all, hearing loss is not the only thing a hearing exam can detect. And with individuals who may be coping with hearing loss, caregivers need to look for indications of depression. Common symptoms include difficulty concentrating, fatigue, general loss of interest, unhappiness, and loss of appetite.

Never dismiss your symptoms. Give us a call 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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