Untreated hearing loss has been linked to depression in many studies all over the world.
Studies on hearing loss and depression
In a study by the National Council on the Aging (NCOA), more than 2,300 adults over the age of 50 responded to a survey on the effects of hearing loss1. As many as 30 per cent of those who didn't wear hearing aids reported feelings of sadness or depression that lasted for two weeks or more – compared with 22 per cent of those who used hearing aids.
Another study by the John Hopkins University, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, and Drexel University looked at depression amongst 113 participants aged 50 and over using the Geriatric Depression Scale2. Tests were carried out prior to study participants receiving either hearing aids or cochlear implants, and after the first six months of wear. Amongst those who had hearing aids, depression symptom scores dropped by 28 per cent.
Why these statistics are so concerning for Australia
These are worrisome figures, considering that just one in four Australians who could benefit from wearing hearing aids actually have them3, and there is a seven year gap between a person needing hearing aids and them actually getting help, according to the Hearing Care Industry Association. Additionally, hearing loss in Australia is on the rise, with one in six currently dealing with the impairment, and that figure to increase to one in four by 2050.
The link between hearing loss and feelings of depression is a complex one. For some, the loss of hearing can set into motion the process of grieving, which is a natural and healthy reaction to losing something you've had all your life. For many, hearing loss can make a number of situations more difficult and frustrating, from interacting in noisy social environments to participating in work meetings. These difficulties can lead to a person taking a step back from social scenarios, and can often be the reason behind an apparent change in personality from outgoing and social, to shy and retiring.
These reasons are why it's so important to take regular hearing tests. Due to the slow process of hearing loss, many Australians don't realise it is even happening.
If you start noticing the signs of hearing loss in yourself or a loved one, don't wait. Click here for a FREE* consultation with your local Adelaide Digital Hearing Solutions, or call us on 1800 940 982.
1National Council on the Aging, The Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss in Older Adults, Accessed June, 2017
2Hear-It, Hearing aids and cochlear implants significantly improve depressive symptoms caused by untreated hearing loss, Accessed June, 2017
3Hearing Care Industry Association, The facts about hearing health in Australia, Accessed June, 2017