Sunday, March 2, 2014

Untreated Hearing Loss and Depression

Untreated hearing loss can increased risk of depression

New evidence shows a strong link between the debilitating and dangerous symptoms of depression and hearing loss. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) conducted a study showing those older than 50 who suffer from hearing loss are more likely to report feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration, emotional instability and paranoia. Studies done in Italy and Australia both showed similar results.

“When left unaddressed hearing loss can lead to isolation and other emotional conditions that can affect both quality of life and mental health,” said Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute.

Even more alarming, the NCOA study showed those who suffered from hearing loss were also less likely to join social activities.  Because depression affects nearly one in every 12 people in America and can lead to much more grave situations, it’s important to realize and respond to the link between depression and effective treatment of hearing loss.

The impacts of hearing loss treatment on mental health shouldn’t be underestimated as shown by researchers in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. They found in just three months of hearing aid use every single patient in the study showed significant improvement in psychosocial and cognitive condition.

“By raising awareness of the connection between untreated hearing loss and depression we hope to make a difference in people’s lives and mobilize individuals to address their hearing loss,” said Kochkin.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends seeking help for a complete hearing evaluation if a loved one consistently has:
  • ·       Difficulty understanding speech, especially when background noise is present
  • ·       Isolates themselves from social gatherings and public situations
  • ·       Watches television or listening to the radio at a much louder volume than normal
  • ·       Often asks for people to repeat themselves

While it can be difficult to seek treatment when depressed and to encourage those who may be suffering to find help, mental health is important to keep a close watch on because it affects so many other areas of a healthy lifestyle. The evidence is clear that those who suffer from even mild hearing loss are at greater risk from a wide range of negative emotional experiences. The first step is to seek corrective treatment from a hearing careprofessional.