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Hearing Loss and Depression in Seniors

Hearing Loss in Seniors

Hearing health and mental health are both important, but did you know there is a strong correlation between the two? According to a study done by The National Council on the Aging (NCOA), untreated hearing loss has serious emotional and social consequences for seniors.

The study, which consisted of a survey of 2,300 hearing impaired adults age 50 and older, found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities compared to those who wear hearing aids.

Difficulty communicating can lead to social isolation and stress, which commonly leads to depression. Because hearing loss is the third most occurring condition in older adults, this is especially relevant to them. Between 25 and 40 percent of those over the age of 65 suffer from hearing loss and unfortunately for the majority of these people, hearing loss goes untreated.

What can be done to help?

Most physicians do not report offering hearing tests or depression screening to their older patients, so it is important to ask for these things at your next visit if you suspect that you’re suffering from hearing loss and/or depression. Not all symptoms of depression are obvious; sadness and hopelessness are the most common symptoms, but other symptoms include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, loss of interest in hobbies and irritability.

If hearing loss is the source of your or a loved ones depression, a hearing care professional can help you and possibly keep you from having to take any unnecessary medications. Those who seek treatment for hearing loss early on greatly reduce their risk of depression. After seeking treatment, a well-planned adjustment period is necessary for new hearing instruments. A good audiologic rehabilitation program will help new hearing aid users adjust to their equipment and new sounds over a period of time.

While there is a link between hearing loss and depression, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression and you believe it could be related to hearing loss, please call Evolution Hearing in Charlottesville, VA at 434-260-8007 or our Raleigh, NC location at 919-670-3258 so we can help improve your quality of life.