Hearing loss and depression

hearingMental health awareness

Hearing aids play a role in improving mental health

Mental health has been in the spotlight over the last 15 years due to increased awareness throughout the population. Mental health is an integral part of overall health and wellness. Mental health includes three parts: emotional, social, and psychological well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act in every situation. It also helps determine how we handle and respond to stress. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood through adulthood.

Anxiety and depression are common human emotions but when they last for 2 weeks or more, this is a chronic condition. Hearing loss that goes untreated can lead to the onset of depression and anxiety. Luckily, getting a yearly hearing exam can help to ward off these symptoms.

What is depression?

Depression has become more common throughout our society for several reasons including increased job demands, financial debt, and better awareness of the condition.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Feelings of guilt or helplessness
  • General hopelessness
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex and socialization
  • Excessive hunger or appetite loss
  • Aches, pains and headaches that will not go away
  • Digestive problems that seem to linger
  • Persistent sadness, anxiety that cannot be explained
  • Suicidal ideations
More Information

Risk factors for depression are complex and include environmental, mental and physical health. Hearing loss is just one of these factors.  

Luckily, there are many treatment options available for those with depression.  For example, the quality of life for someone with depression and hearing loss can improve dramatically if that hearing loss is treated.  It is well known that these small lifestyle changes, with the help of technology, can make huge differences in those who suffer from hearing loss and depression.

How are hearing loss and depression linked?

There are over 9 million people over the age of 65 affected by hearing loss. Many studies have shown that for people who are 65 and over, the risk of having both hearing loss and depression is higher among those who do not treat their hearing loss or use hearing aids. This includes those who are wearing outdated hearing assistive devices that no longer suit their needs.

Studies have shown that those with hearing loss will often experience social isolation and withdrawal. They may also have a different perception of social situations due to the inability to hear correctly. For instance, one may believe that the person talking to them is mad when, in fact, they are not.

Mental health improves with hearing aids

With the use of properly fitted and programed hearing aids, the ability to participate in social situations improves. Those with hearing loss will have more opportunities to connect with their peers and family members. Conversation becomes more rich and engaging when you can hear every word.

Additional activities to improve mental health

There are many excellent treatment interventions for depression. Exercise and healthy lifestyle play a large roll in how you feel and may reduce the signs and symptoms of depression. Proper eye care and vision health also helps  to reduce dementia and depression. Although you do not need a doctors prescription for hearing aids, you should always consult your doctor before taking any medication. 

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