Hearing loss can have a number of hidden side effects, from emotional impacts like depression and anxiety, to physical ones like an increased risk of falling.
Studies have shown that five percent of the general population has depression – but as much as 11% of people with hearing loss are depressed. This is most prevalent among adults between the age of 18-69.
Seeking help for both hearing loss and depression is vital. By understanding the link and knowing the signs of hearing loss and depression, you can take the appropriate actions to get the treatment you deserve. If you allow either to remain untreated, you may find yourself developing other, more serious side effects, like cognitive decline and dementia
Understanding the link
Hearing loss affects our ability to hold conversations. We may struggle to hear what others are saying – especially in locations where there is a lot of background noise – and as a result may struggle to communicate back. Group conversations can be particularly difficult. This frustration can make us stressed and tired, as well as making us feel socially isolated. This in turn can lead to depression.
An audiologist can often prescribe a hearing aid that can help to treat hearing loss. This may help to relieve depression by helping you to live a more normal life. Unfortunately, many people fail to realize that they have hearing loss and so do not seek treatment. In other cases, people may put off seeking treatment for hearing loss. This can cause both the hearing loss and the depression to get a lot worse.
Knowing the signs
By identifying the signs of both hearing loss and depression, you can seek out appropriate treatment.
In the case of hearing loss, there are many signs to look out for. Do you find yourself regularly turning up the volume on your TV or radio? Are you constantly telling people to repeat themselves or telling people to speak louder? Do you have particular difficulty following conversations in crowded places or areas where there is a lot of background noise? If the answer to these questions is yes, it is likely that you may have hearing loss. By seeking out an audiologist, you can confirm this with a hearing test.
As for the signs of depression, these can be more personal but generally include a feeling of hopelessness, a sense of fatigue, a lack of motivation for day-to-day tasks, loss of appetite or trouble sleeping. In the case of hearing loss, you may feel a great sense of loneliness and an aversion to social interaction due to not being able to understand people. You may even be experiencing relationship troubles, both as a result of hearing loss and depression.
What you can do
If depression is the direct result of hearing loss, you may be able to minimize this depression by seeking out hearing loss treatment. An audiologist will be able to arrange a hearing test – this will help to measure the extent of the hearing loss so that the right treatment can be taken.
A hearing aid may be able to help you hear more clearly. An audiologist will be able to find the right prescription. There are many different types of hearing aid, including devices that can be used to treat tinnitus.
By hearing more clearly, you may feel more confident engaging in social interaction and may be able to follow conversations more easily. This may help to reduce symptoms of depression. If you continue to feel depressed, it could be worth seeking treatment from a counsellor alongside hearing loss treatment.
On top of being prescribed a hearing aid, there are other things that you can do to make day to day life easier and to ease depression. When meeting up with friends and relatives, choose places where there are little background noise so following conversations is a less of a struggle. Tell people that you have hearing loss so that they know to speak more slowly and clearly. By taking these measures and pushing yourself to be more social, you may feel less isolated.
Why choose us?
At Hear for You Hearing & Balance Center, our goal is simple; to help you hear well. We have a team of expert audiologists that can diagnose your hearing problem and help you to find the right treatment. We offer a range of hearing services from hearing tests to hearing aid fitting.
To book an appointment and start improving your hearing, contact us at 401-475-6116.