Link Between Depression and Hearing Loss
The link between unaddressed hearing loss and depression is compelling. For example, a large-scale study by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) found that people 50 and older with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, anger and frustration, emotional instability and paranoia, and were less likely to participate in organized social activities than those who wore hearing aids. The degree of depression and other emotional or mental health issues also increased with the severity of hearing loss.
An Australian study found that people who suffer from hearing loss may be at increased risk of developing the debilitating effects of depression. The survey found that 60 per cent of those with hearing loss had displayed symptoms associated with depression. And almost 20 percent demonstrated at least three key symptoms of depression. Specifically, 52 percent had displayed increased irritability and frustration; 22 per cent had trouble sleeping or experienced restlessness; and 18 per cent showed a loss of interest or pleasure in most activities.
The good news is that research also indicates that hearing aids can help. A study published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics examined the effects of hearing aids on cognitive function and depressive signs in people 65 and older. Researchers found that after three months of using a hearing aid, all patients showed significant improvement in their psychosocial and cognitive conditions.