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Hearing Loss and Depression

Hearing impairment, or hearing loss, has been scientifically linked to declining mental health. Multiple studies have found that hearing loss is associated with moderate to severe depression. In one study, 30.5% of adults reported having some degree of hearing loss and depression.

A second study found that the potential for depression increased by 5% with every incremental drop in hearing ability in people under 70. Another study found nearly 20% of adults with hearing loss had symptoms of clinical depression. The link between hearing problems and depression may be more prominent in women than in men.

A large study also found that those with self-reported hearing loss reported an increased rate of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication use. To address how hearing loss is tied to depression, it’s important to understand how the two conditions are connected.

How Are Hearing Loss and Depression Linked?

One intuitive connection that exists between depression and hearing loss is the struggle to communicate. When individuals find it more difficult to understand what's being said in social situations, they may self-isolate, which can trigger loneliness and symptoms of depression.

It can be particularly challenging to follow shifts in conversation. This means that people with hearing loss can lose connection during a conversation when the subject matter shifts, and they suddenly don't know what people are talking about.

They may become embarrassed when they offer responses that reference a subject that is no longer a topic of the conversation. In some cases, it can make people appear disoriented and feel paranoid. Mild to moderate hearing loss may also make the brain work harder to process sounds. This may affect other processes and increase the risk of symptoms of depression.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), nearly one in every three people from age 65 to 74 and one in every two people from 75 years and older have hearing loss. The NIA is funding a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins University to better understand the benefit of hearing rehabilitation and the effect it may have on cognitive hearing loss.

The study was prompted by research data that suggests older individuals with hearing loss are also more likely to develop dementia, or cognitive impairment. Hearing loss is associated with a lower level of cognitive function and a reduction in memory testing. The brain processes cognition and sound in the same area, which may be a link to cognitive hearing loss.

The Best Treatment for Depression and Hearing Loss

One of the best treatments for hearing loss tied to depression is to improve the individual's hearing. People are social beings and need contact with others to lead a full and meaningful life. Hearing loss can increase the risk of social isolation when people can't make out what is being said in conversation.

However, isolation can lead to symptoms of depression and a lower quality of life. The first step is to find out the source of the hearing loss. In some cases, hearing loss may be temporary. For example, hearing loss may be triggered by impacted earwax. However, in many other cases, individuals benefit from the use of hearing aids.

Get Help from an Experienced Audiologist Near You

Restoring hearing, and therefore appropriate signals to the brain and improved social interactions, can reduce signs of depression. Yet, some people do not want to wear hearing aids. Some reasons people list for not wearing hearing aids include the stigma that comes with wearing bulky devices in their ears, and poor technology and amplification.

However, the hearing aids from Hear.com have a nearly invisible design and are built to provide the best speech clarity. Additionally, they have smartphone connectivity and speech-enhancing algorithms that improve your ability to understand conversations.

There are over 2,000 top audiologists across the U.S. who offer telehealth and in-person appointments to give customers the best personalized assessments and fittings possible. You can correct hearing loss tied to depression.

By answering a few simple questions on our website, you or someone you love may qualify for a free no-risk trial with our hearing aids. We work with all major health insurance plans, and you may also qualify for flexible finance options.

Call us today at (786) 520-2456 to schedule your appointment with an experienced and qualified audiologist near you to address depression and hearing loss.

Get Assistance from a Hearing Specialist

Dr. Hope Lanter

Dr. Hope Lanter is a lead audiologist at hear.com, a global leader in hearing care and the largest online retailer of medical-grade hearing aids. Dr. Lanter has more than fifteen years of experience as an audiologist, working directly with patients and helping them find the best hearing loss treatments that fit their individual needs. She received her M.A. in audiology from the University of Iowa and her Au.D. in audiology from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences.

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