Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Depression

There is a new concern in the world of hearing loss and it is a severe one: depression. According to information from a new research project, there is a great correlation between people who have hearing loss and people who suffer from depression. This correlation became evident after a study was completed that looked for an increase in effects from hearing loss. This article will examine the study, what can be done, as well as the way that hearing loss can cause depression.

Why Does Hearing Loss Cause Depression?

At first thought, it may sound rather ridiculous for hearing loss to result in depression, but many people neglect to think about the different ways that hearing loss can affect your life. Every time you talk to someone or go to a social event, you use your hearing. Without the ability to have fun with many hobbies or talk to your loved ones, it is easy to see why some people sink into depressive attitudes.

Another connection between hearing loss and depression is being explored by doctors and medical professionals right now. Knowing that hearing loss can cause brain damage, they want to see if the areas affected by hearing loss can also inflict depression.

The Study

The study was completed by the Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the information was compiled last year. They used a sample size of 18,000 people between the ages of 18 and 80 to get a comprehensive look at the phenomenon. They had all of these individuals take a hearing test which was either self reported, or those under 70, or checked by a doctor if they were older.
After the hearing test, the people were given a quiz that was meant to reveal any depressive qualities that they had. The results were astounding. People under the age of 70 had an eleven percent incidence of hearing loss and depression. The people over 70, though, did not share this diagnosis, as they normalized at 4% hearing loss and depression, a confounding factor that requires more study.

What Can We Do?

So far, there is only one truly effective way of treating hearing loss that is caused by depression: improving a person’s hearing once again. This typically requires people to have surgery to repair a portion of their ear that is causing the hearing loss. Another way to treat depression with hearing loss is by fitting the individual with a hearing aid. This will allow people to regain certain levels of hearing so that they can participate in conversations and with their family once again. Aside from this, new treatments for hearing impairment are currently being developed.

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