When two or more conditions occur together, they are said to be comorbidities. For example, those who experience combined vision and hearing loss, known as dual sensory loss, are at greater risk of experiencing the comorbidities of depression and anxiety. Below we review what the research shows about the connection between these conditions and how to seek treatment.
What the Research Shows
A 2021 study entitled “Combined Vision and Hearing Difficulties Results in Higher Levels of Depression and Chronic Anxiety: Data From a Large Sample of Spanish Adults” was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. The contributing researchers are from the U.K., Spain and France.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of dual sensory impairment in a large sample, as hearing and vision loss had already been linked to these mental health disorders individually in previous studies.
The researchers collected data from 23,089 participants between the ages of 15 and 103 years old. The participants had been part of the Spanish National Health Survey 2017. The researchers then analyzed this data, particularly self-reported rates of hearing loss, vision loss, depression and anxiety among the population.
They concluded that those who had dual sensory impairment were 3.85 times more likely to experience depression and 3.38 times more likely to experience anxiety than the general population.
According to lead study author Professor Shahina Pardhan, “Difficulties with seeing and hearing affects many aspects of everyday life. It can affect ability to work, interaction with others and carry out physical activity, all of which are important for emotional wellbeing. Our study has found a significantly increased risk of mental health issues like depression and chronic anxiety if people suffer both vision and hearing loss.”
How Is Dual Sensory Loss Treated?
Most cases of hearing loss are effectively treated with hearing aids, which work by amplifying sounds to a level the ears can easily detect. An audiologist at Ear Specialists of Omaha & Bellevue can prescribe and fit a set of hearing aids for you that will address your exact hearing needs.
The most popular treatments for vision loss are glasses and contacts, which can be prescribed by an ophthalmologist in your area.
How Are Mental Health Disorders Treated?
The first line of defense against depression and anxiety include:
- Getting regular exercise at One Tree Yoga in Omaha
- Eating a balanced diet
- Spending time outdoors
- Socializing with loved ones
However, more severe cases may require other interventions, such as:
For more information about these comorbidities or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Ear Specialists of Omaha & Bellevue today.