The Link Between Hearing Loss and Depression

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The Link Between Hearing Loss and Depression

Hearing loss, that is left untreated, has more than just an impact on how much a person can hear. It also has negative social and emotional consequences, especially for the older generation. As we age we assume that our hearing is going to deteriorate and many people do little or nothing about it. Yet the latest research into the effects of hearing loss in individuals aged fifty and over, found that people of this age group were more at risk of suffering from anxiety and depression as well as episodes of paranoia. They were also shown to be less inclined to join in with social activities, much more so than those who had sought treatment for their hearing loss and wore a hearing aid.

Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic conditions experienced in the country today. There are believed to be around six million sufferers aged sixty five and over and at least another seven million aged between forty five and sixty four all with the condition. Yet the majority of these people will do nothing with regards to seeking treatment and will simply suffer in silence and solitude.

Leaving the Condition Untreated

Those that do nothing about their hearing loss are much more likely to suffer from bouts of depression and a significant ‘low mood’; much more so than their treatment seeking counterparts. These individuals also become emotionally distressed and believe that people are angry at them all of the time, probably because they have to shout to get attention. This perception is the onset of paranoia. The lack of social interaction caused by their slow withdrawal from society also leads to social isolation, especially in those in the sixty five and above age bracket as they are unwilling to participate in organised activities.

Treatment Benefits

Those people that did seek treatment for their hearing loss, and were fitted with hearing aids, were reported to have significantly improved their overall quality of life in all areas from relationships and sex lives to their social interactions and leisure activities. The families of these individuals also stated that they had noticed significant improvements in the health and general wellbeing of their family member with the hearing impairment. The amount of individuals suffering from the negative effects of anxiety and depression and onset paranoia were also greatly reduced.

Barriers To Use

Some of the reasons that were cited for not seeking treatment were given as ‘a hearing aid would make them look old’ or ‘their hearing wasn’t bad enough to need one’. Almost fifty percent of those questioned as part of the research said the costs involved were prohibitive. Embarrassment factor was also cited as a reason for not wanting to wear a hearing aid, despite it being a beneficial aid to their quality of life. It is imperative that the families of those individuals suffering from all levels of hearing loss prompt them to seek medical help as soon as possible, otherwise they could soon be feeling the negative impact of hearing loss on the quality of their lives in the future.