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There is a strong correlation between mental health and hearing loss according to new studies.

Besides this link, both conditions have something else in common – health professionals and patients often fail to recognize and treat them. Knowing there is a connection could potentially improve mental health for millions of individuals and give hope as they look for solutions.

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

Out of all individuals who are diagnosed with hearing loss, research shows that over 11 percent of them also have clinical depression. This is significant because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Depression was evaluated by the frequency and severity of the symptoms and a basic questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was used. People who were between 18 and 69 had the highest rate of depression. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a scientist at NICDC and the author of this study, found “a substantial link between severe depression and hearing loss”.

Untreated Hearing Loss Doubles Your Risk of Depression

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 worse the hearing loss is. After audiometric hearing testing, participants were evaluated for depression. This study also revealed that the chance of depression nearly doubles in people with even slight hearing loss. Even more alarming, mild hearing loss often goes undiagnosed and untreated by many individuals over 70 which has also been demonstrated to raise the danger of cognitive decline and dementia. While the research doesn’t prove that one is caused by the other, it is obvious that it is a contributor.

In order to communicate effectively and remain active, hearing is essential. Embarrassment, anxiety, and potential loss of self-confidence can be the outcome of the professional and social blunders that come with hearing loss. Progressive withdrawal can be the outcome if these feelings are left unaddressed. People begin to steer clear of physical activity and seclude themselves from family and friends. After a while, this can result in isolation, loneliness – and depression.

Hearing Isn’t Simply About The Ears

Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its association with depression. Hearing affects your general health, the brain, quality of life, and healthy aging. This highlights the vital role of the hearing care professional within the scope of general healthcare. Confusion, aggravation, and fatigue are frequently a problem for individuals who have hearing loss.

The good news: The problem can be substantially improved by having a hearing test and treatment as soon as you notice hearing loss symptoms. These risks are considerably decreased, according to research, with early treatment. Regular hearing exams need to be recommended by doctors. Hearing impairment isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can uncover, after all. And with individuals who might be coping with hearing loss, caregivers need to watch for symptoms of depression. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability, and overall loss of interest and sadness are all symptoms.

Never ignore your symptoms. Call us to schedule an appointment if you think you might 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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