More than 11 percent of those with hearing loss also had depression

A study by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) showed that more than 11 percent of those with hearing loss also had depression, as opposed to only 5 percent in the general population. There is no definitive cause and effect between hearing loss and depression but there is a significant association. To see more information on the study, please visit JAMA.

The amount of energy required to keep up with normal conversations increases with hearing loss and over time, and many with hearing loss grow tired of the struggle to keep up with conversations.

When a person with hearing loss decides to withdraw from social events, they withdraw from conversations and interactions. Friends, family, and others close to those withdrawing from social events often misunderstand or misdiagnose the person because they are not aware of their hearing loss. Eventually, the person with hearing loss may become depressed because of their social isolation.

A survey by the National Council of Aging (NCOA) discovered that respondents with untreated hearing loss (those who did not wear hearing aids) reported feelings of sadness or depression that lasted two or more weeks in the previous 1 year Among respondents with more severe hearing loss, 30 percent of non-users of hearing aids reported these sad feelings. The number of those who experienced feelings of sadness among hearing aid users with mild hearing loss was just 22%.

Because social isolation is a serious problem for some older people, the study also examined social behavior and found that people who don't use hearing aids are considerably less likely to participate in social activities. Respondents who were hearing aid users were 31% more likely to participate regularly in social activities than those who suffered from hearing loss but did not wear hearing aids.

It's possible to minimize risk of depression related to hearing loss.

It is possible to minimize the risk of depression related to hearing loss. If you suspect hearing loss, seek the care of a hearing healthcare professional as early as you can. Studies show that those who seek treatment for hearing loss early significantly reduce their risk of depression. While there is a link between hearing loss and depression, it is more prudent to error on the side of caution. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, a simple hearing test could change the course dramatically. A survey by the Better Hearing Institute found that 90% of people reported a significant improvement in their quality of life after receiving hearing aids.

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