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

Besides this link, both disorders have something else in common – they often go overlooked and neglected by health professionals and patients. For millions of people who are seeking solutions to mental health issues, identifying this relationship 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 widespread.

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 standard questionnaire based on self-reporting of hearing loss was utilized. Individuals who were between 18 and 69 had the highest instance of depression. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a researcher at NICDC and the author of this study, discovered “a considerable link between profound depression and hearing loss”.

Neglected Hearing Loss Doubles Your Risk of Depression

Another study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, found that people with age-related hearing loss (an extremely common chronic issue in senior citizens) experienced more signs of depression and the more severe the hearing loss – the higher the chance of having depressive symptoms. After audiometric hearing testing, participants were evaluated for depression. Once again, researchers found that people with even a little bit of hearing loss were almost twice as likely to have depression. Even more startling, mild hearing loss frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated by many people over 70 which has also been demonstrated to raise the danger of cognitive decline and dementia. While the studies cannot prove that one is caused by the other, it is evident that it is a contributor.

Hearing is crucial to being active and communicating successfully. Hearing problems can cause professional and social blunders that trigger anxiety and embarrassment, and potentially loss of self-esteem. Gradual withdrawal can be the result if these feelings are not addressed. People withdraw from family and friends and also from physical activity. Over time, this can lead to isolation, loneliness – and depression.

Hearing Isn’t Just About The Ears

Hearing loss and its link to depression underscores that hearing loss isn’t only about the ears. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and general health are all impacted by your hearing. This emphasizes the crucial role of the hearing care professional within the scope of general healthcare. Confusion, frustration, and exhaustion are frequently an issue for individuals who have hearing loss.

The good news: Seeking professional care and testing at the soonest sign of a hearing problem helps prevent this problem. These risks are considerably decreased, according to studies, with early treatment. Routine hearing exams need to be encouraged by doctors. Hearing impairment isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can reveal, after all. Caregivers should also watch for signs of depression in patients who might be dealing with either or both. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, impatience, and overall loss of interest and unhappiness are all symptoms.

Never ignore your symptoms. Give us a call to make an appointment if you think 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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