Is there A Link Between Hearing Loss & Depression?


Niamh Harnett


Hearing loss is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. Recent studies have shown that there is a significant connection between hearing loss and mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. While some studies have shown that individuals with hearing loss are at a higher risk of mental health issues, there are also studies that show that acquiring hearing aids or treating hearing loss properly can potentially decrease this risk.

Phonak Lumity Hearing aids.

Is there A Connection?

A review published in 2020 in JAMA evaluated 35 studies and found that there was an association between hearing loss and high rates of depression. Experiencing hearing loss for the first time can be a nerve-wracking and anxiety inducing experience for anyone, even those with no history of mental health disorders.

1. Increased Social Isolation

When people experience hearing loss, they can feel socially isolated, especially at the beginning. This could lead to reduced participation in activities, not seeing friends, and increased feelings of loneliness. All of these factors are commonly known as risk factors for depression.

2. Cognitive Load

Untreated hearing loss can place a significant load on the brain as individuals struggle to hear those around them whether at family gatherings or simply out for dinner. This additional effort can lead to mental fatigue and cognitive strain which could again potentially contribute to development of depression. Hearing aids, especially newer models, have enhanced speech understanding capabilities, meaning you don’t have to strain as much to understand those around you.

Hope Through Hearing Aids

While the impact of hearing loss on mental health might seem concerning, there are also studies that have shown that taking steps to manage hearing loss, in which buying hearing aids is just one possible route, can play a crucial role in reducing the risk of depression.

1. Improved Social Life

With an increased ability to hear, it makes sense that increased social interaction will follow. A 2021 study published in Trends In Hearing found that people who bought hearing aids reported higher levels of social interaction and emotional well-being. Buying a hearing aid or treating your hearing loss in some way can enhance your social life as you're able to communicate with those around you.

2. Improved Overall Quality Of life

Hearing aid use was associated with an improvement in overall quality of life in a study published by JAMA in 2018. Participants within the study that reported wearing hearing aids were found to have a lower risk of developing depression and anxiety.

While there is evidence to suggest that those who have hearing difficulties are at a higher risk of depression and anxiety there is also a wealth of evidence to suggest that anyone who treats their hearing loss via buying a hearing aid or by a range of other means reported a higher quality of life and a better social life through being more able to communicate with friends and family.

At Wholesale Hearing, we help you find the perfect hearing aid for your level of hearing loss, aiming to make you comfortable at a usually uncomfortable time. Get in touch with our expert audiologists today or shop our full range of hearing aids.

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