How Untreated Hearing Loss Can Affect Your Mood
It’s common for people with hearing loss to also experience mood problems. More specifically, it’s common for this population to experience mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. We review more about this connection and how you can improve your mood below.
What Does the Research Show?
A study published in the journal Frontiers of Aging Neuroscience in 2022 examined the association between untreated hearing loss, social and emotional loneliness, social isolation, social support and psychological discomfort in older adults.
Just over 200 volunteers ages 40 to 89 completed a hearing assessment, social interaction and support questionnaire and social and emotional loneliness questionnaire for the study.
According to the researchers, “Untreated hearing loss significantly increases the odds of being emotionally lonely. Depression significantly contributes to social and emotional loneliness, satisfaction with social support and social loneliness. Given the higher prevalence of loneliness and psychological discomfort and their associations with untreated hearing loss, hearing-impaired older adults are at significant risk of developing loneliness and psychological discomfort.”
Why the Link?
If you can’t hear well, you probably worry about misunderstanding people and responding to them inappropriately. This constant worry can spiral into an anxiety disorder and cause you to withdraw from situations where you could feel this way, like activities at the Baldwin Senior Center. Social withdrawal and isolation are major risk factors for depression.
How Can I Seek Treatment?
If you’re experiencing mood problems and also have untreated hearing loss, you should schedule an appointment with an audiologist. Audiologists are hearing experts who can administer diagnostic hearing tests and prescribe treatment, usually in the form of amplification. Hearing aids are the gold standard treatment that works by increasing sound levels to a volume the wearer can easily detect. Cochlear implants may instead be recommended if you have severe to profound hearing loss.
If you’re still struggling with your mood after seeking treatment for hearing loss, you should see a licensed mental health professional who can help stabilize your mood using counseling and medication.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call DeFatta Health today.