Everyone feels blue sometimes. However, if you have untreated hearing loss, you may find that these feelings tend to occur more frequently, linger longer and, for some people, won’t go away.
That’s because having untreated hearing loss puts you at a greater risk for mental health problems, including depression. According to recent research, approximately 11.4% of adults with a self-reported hearing problem said they had moderate to severe depression compared to 5.9% of those without hearing loss.
How Hearing Loss Is Linked to Depression
Untreated hearing loss doesn’t just cut you off from sounds. It also cuts you off from people. You may have difficulty following conversations and communicating. Even strong relationships, such as those with your spouse or children, can become strained. You start to wonder if others are angry with or talking about you because you can’t hear what they’re saying. And you eventually begin to dread once-enjoyable experiences, like going out to dinner with friends or attending family get-togethers.
People with untreated hearing loss often cope by choosing to self-isolate. And it’s this self-isolation that can then lead to depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, depression is “a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest and can interfere with your daily functioning.”
Common signs of depression include:
- Feeling tired and having little energy
- Poor appetite or overeating
- Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
- Frustration or irritability caused by not being able to understand others
- Voicing feelings of sadness, emptiness, worthlessness or an inability to feel anything
- Having suicidal thoughts—if this happens to you, call 911 immediately or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-272-TALK
Hear Better to Feel Better
When you’re depressed and have untreated hearing loss, it can be hard to feel hopeful that things will ever change. However, life can get better when you get the help you need. Seeking support from caring medical and mental health professionals is a good first step—and connecting with an audiologist who can prescribe hearing devices can make a big difference.
Research shows the positive benefits of treating hearing loss with hearing devices. For example, nearly 35% of patients in one study who wore hearing devices reported improvements in their mental health, and 52% said their social lives improved. In another study, every single patient who wore hearing devices showed solid improvements in psychosocial and cognitive conditions in just three months.
If you’re concerned you or someone you care about may have a hearing loss, call Precision Hearing at 352-765-8008 today to schedule an appointment.