Untreated hearing loss can negatively affect your life in many ways, including increasing your risk for depression. This seems especially true in older individuals. Thankfully, treating your hearing loss with hearing aids and other assistive listening devices can help.
What The Research Says
A 2019 study found that hearing loss was significantly linked with depressive symptoms in adults 50 and older. Researchers also found that the more severe the hearing loss, the more likely it was that a participant had symptoms of depression. Specifically, they state that “the odds of having clinically significant depressive symptoms increased approximately 45% for every 20-dB increase in hearing loss.”
Why Does Hearing Loss Increase Depression?
One of the most difficult parts about hearing loss is that it makes it harder to communicate with others by reducing your ability to understand and process speech. This can make every interaction more difficult, from making small talk with your co-workers, chatting on the phone with your grandchildren or trying to follow the conversation during a meal with friends out at Elements Tapas or other Medford restaurants.
Eventually, social gatherings can leave you feeling lonely and mentally exhausted. This leads some people to start isolating themselves from others. This can put a strain on relationships and increase feelings of depression.
How Hearing Aids Can Benefit Mental Health in Seniors
While untreated hearing loss can take a toll on your mental health, seeking the appropriate treatment may help reduce your risk of depression.
The first step towards treatment is scheduling an appointment for a hearing test. It’s a good idea for anyone 50 or older to schedule regular hearing tests, even if you don’t have signs of hearing loss. This is because symptoms often come on gradually and may go unnoticed at first. However, the sooner a diagnosis is made, the better.
Hearing aids are the most common form of treatment for hearing loss. They make it easier for your ears and brain to process sounds and can help you connect with others in any environment. With the right pair, you can stay close to those you love and have the confidence to form new and important relationships.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call Oregon Ear, Nose & Throat Center today.