How Hearing Loss and Depression Are Connected
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with hearing loss, you know how frustrating it can be when conversation becomes a challenge. Key words are misunderstood or entirely unheard, requests for repetitions and clarifying statements become tiring, and so on until even the thought of social interaction is stressful. As hearing loss worsens, the physical and emotional energy required to comprehend speech increases drastically, which can have significant impacts on one’s mood and personality.
What researchers have found
The link between hearing loss and depression has been acknowledged for years. Nearly every major study on this topic has found that untreated hearing loss is tied to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other affective disorders. While only 5 percent of the overall population is known to have depression, a study by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders found that at least 11 percent of those with hearing loss show signs of this disorder.
Considering that hearing loss is one of the top three most common conditions affecting the elderly, this research should be alarming. Fortunately, many of these studies have found that wearing hearing aids is a highly effective way to reverse the effects of depression and prevent it from worsening.
Early treatment and prevention are key
While this is good news for those who are aware of their hearing loss and want to seek treatment, the reality is that hearing aid adoption rates are far lower than they should be. Fewer than one in four people who could benefit from being fitted with hearing aids have ever worn them, and many family members often miss the signs of hearing loss in a loved one. For this reason, it is important to have your hearing checked regularly by a licensed professional to determine if what you consider to be normal hearing is actually a cause for concern.
There are many reasons why someone with hearing loss would avoid being fitted with hearing aids. Perhaps they are worried that a visible medical instrument will make them seem old or weak, or that mastering the technology will be too much of a hassle. In reality, being unable to communicate effectively is a far greater distraction than a discreet hearing instrument, and the advanced connectivity on every Rexton product allows for a user-friendly experience that adapts to your lifestyle so you can hear comfortably wherever you go. The sooner you are fitted with a Rexton device, the lower your risk of developing a psychological condition such as depression or anxiety. It is likely that the insecurity one feels as a result of their hearing loss may make it hard to seek out help, but the benefits of recovering your ability to communicate with loved ones and enjoy social activities is more than worth it.
What does depression look like?
For those with untreated hearing loss, the signs of depression may be hidden. Someone with hearing loss may be perceived as being rude or ignoring them, while they themselves may become frustrated by the fact that nobody is listening to them. As you can imagine, this cycle can quickly become worse for all involved.
The result can be social isolation, which is a very common sign of hearing loss. Studies have found that people with hearing loss who don’t wear hearing aids are more likely to avoid going out and interacting with others. Patients also reported symptoms of depression, such as persistent feelings of sadness, paranoia, and irritation. While these characteristics may be visible to others, more subtle signs are also common. These include lack of concentration, decreased appetite, inability to enjoy hobbies and activities, fatigue, and poor sleep. If these are compounded over time without proper treatment, the results can be devastating.
How Rexton can help
Depression doesn’t have to be an inevitable consequence of hearing loss. No matter the severity of the condition of you or a loved one, there is help available. Hearing aids such as those offered by Rexton can improve your quality of life and help restore you confidence and independence for years to come. In addition, it’s not only the hearing aid wearer who will see improvement, but family members and peers will notice a difference as well.
If hearing loss poses a challenge to your daily life, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Please fill out this contact form to find a licensed Rexton hearing aid specialist in your area so you can start becoming your happiest and healthiest self.