Untreated hearing loss may be a risk factor in seniors developing depression. Let’s take a closer look at why that is and how treating hearing loss can help.
Hearing Loss Increases Isolation and Loneliness
Hearing loss makes it harder for you to follow conversations and communicate with others. It makes your brain work harder to understand what others are saying, especially in noisier environments like work events, cocktail parties or big family get-togethers.
You may find yourself feeling easily fatigued and frustrated when trying to socialize. In fact, some people with hearing loss begin to find it so overwhelming that they withdraw and isolate themselves from others. Not only can this negatively impact your relationships with your loved ones, but it can increase feelings of loneliness and depression as well.
Research Finds a Link Between Hearing Loss and Depression
There have been several studies that have found a link between hearing loss and an increase in feelings of depression, especially in seniors. A 2019 study found that hearing loss was significantly linked with depressive symptoms in adults 50 and older.
Additionally, researchers noted that the more severe the hearing loss, the more likely a person was to experience symptoms of depression. Specifically, they found that “the odds of having clinically significant depressive symptoms increased approximately 45% for every 20-dB increase in hearing loss.”
How Hearing Aids Can Help Seniors
The good news is that hearing loss is a very treatable condition. Using hearing aids, or cochlear implants in more severe cases, can help seniors restore some of their hearing, making it easier to communicate and connect with others.
The first step toward seeking treatment is to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. These are quick, non-intrusive examinations that can offer immediate insight into both the cause and severity of your hearing loss.
From there, your hearing specialists will work with you to find hearing aids that meet your needs as well as stylistic and technology preferences. Using them will make it possible for you to engage with your family and friends and may even give you the confidence to try new social activities, like joining a walking club at Florence Community Center. Staying connected to your community in these ways will help keep you happy, healthy and fulfilled!
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call Ear Specialists of Omaha & Bellevue today.