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There is a strong link between mental health and hearing loss according to new research.

And there’s something else that both of these disorders have in common – health professionals and patients often fail to acknowledge and treat them. For millions of individuals who are looking for solutions to mental health problems, acknowledging this relationship could lead to potential improvements.

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, studies show that over 11 percent of them also deal with clinical depression. This is significant because only 5 percent of the general population report being depressed. Basic questionnaires were based on self-reporting of hearing loss and assessed depression based on the frequency and severity of symptoms. People who were between 18 and 69 had the highest rate of depression. Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a researcher at NICDC and the author of this study, found “a significant link between profound depression and hearing loss”.

Untreated Hearing Loss Doubles Your Chances of Depression

Age related hearing loss is quite common in older individuals and, according to a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the chance of depression rises the worse the hearing loss is. Participants were evaluated for depression after taking an audiometric hearing examination. Once more, researchers found that people with even a little bit of hearing loss were almost two times as likely to experience depression. In addition, many older than 70 who have slight hearing loss (which has also been known to raise the risk of cognitive decline and dementia) aren’t diagnosed or treated. Clearly, there’s a link between the two even though a strong cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been demonstrated.

In order to communicate effectively and stay active, hearing is crucial. Hearing issues can result in professional and social blunders that trigger embarrassment, anxiety, and potentially loss of self-confidence. If left unaddressed, these feelings can result in a steady withdrawal. People begin to avoid physical activity and seclude themselves from friends and family. This seclusion, over time, can result in depression and loneliness.

Hearing Isn’t Just About The Ears

Hearing loss is about more than the ears as is underscored by its connection with depression. Your brain, your quality of life, healthy aging, and general health are all affected by your hearing. This emphasizes the vital role of the hearing care professional within the scope of general healthcare. People with hearing loss often deal with fatigue, confusion, and aggravation.

The good news: Finding professional care and testing at the soonest sign of a hearing problem helps counter this issue. Studies show that treating hearing loss early substantially diminishes their risk. It is essential that physicians recommend regular hearing examinations. Hearing impairment isn’t the only thing that a hearing test can reveal, after all. Care providers should also watch for signs of depression in people who may be dealing with either or both. Common symptoms include difficulty concentrating, exhaustion, general loss of interest, unhappiness, and loss of appetite.

Never neglect your symptoms. Give us a call to make 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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