Anxiety, Depression and Hearing Loss

anxious looking woman holding a hand to ear

Mental health and physical health are often interlinked. Physical health issues can lead to mental health concerns, and vice versa. Research has shown that hearing loss can be linked to depression and anxiety, the two most common mental health complaints experienced by adults. Many people with hearing loss also have depression or anxiety, or sometimes both. Various studies have examined the link between these issues, the reasons they might occur together, and how they can impact people’s lives.

The link between hearing loss and depression and anxiety

There have been a number of scientific studies looking at hearing loss and its link to mental health, including conditions such as depression and anxiety. One such study showed that 11.4% of adults who self-reported hearing loss also had moderate to severe depression. Almost one-fifth – 19.1% – had mild depressive symptoms. Another study revealed that the likelihood of developing depression increased by five percent with each incremental decline in hearing ability for adults under 70.

Similarly, studies have shown that people with hearing loss are more likely to report symptoms of anxiety, particularly in older people. One study showed that people aged between 76-85 years had a 32% higher risk of developing anxiety if they had moderate hearing loss and a 59% higher chance if they had at least moderate hearing loss. Anxiety is also more common for people who have tinnitus. Some studies have also suggested that anxiety could affect your hearing health.

How Hearing Loss Can Affect Daily Life

Depression and anxiety could be more common in people with hearing loss for a number of reasons. One problem could be the effect that declining hearing can have on your social life. Difficulty hearing can make it hard to follow along with conversations. Maintaining the connections you have with other people, keeping up at work and continuing with your personal life can all be a struggle if you are experiencing hearing loss.

Feeling anxious about mishearing things or not being able to hear important sounds is common. Having your social life and career affected can lead to feelings of depression too.

Changes in the brain could be a cause of depression in people with hearing loss too. When weaker auditory signals are sent to the brain, the brain has to work harder to process them. This means that the brain might reorganize certain neural pathways and change the way the brain functions. The part of the brain that manages mood can be affected, leading to a higher chance of depression.

Loneliness, anxiety, and difficulty being around other people can lead to feelings of depression. Depression and anxiety can be signs of hearing loss, and it’s also important to be alert to the signs of depression and anxiety in people diagnosed with hearing loss.

Treatment That Can Help

Many people with hearing loss who are affected by depression and anxiety can benefit from treatment such as hearing aids. Hearing aids are suitable for many people with hearing loss of different types. They don’t cure hearing loss, but they amplify sound so that people with hearing loss can hear the world around them. By helping you to hear better, hearing aids can improve your quality of life.

You can find it easier to talk to other people and conduct various aspects of daily life. Hearing aids allow you to hear better when you’re on the phone too, and you can even connect to various devices and gadgets to listen to music, TV and more.

Hearing aids can be useful for helping to treat tinnitus too. Tinnitus is often linked to hearing loss and treating the hearing loss can help with tinnitus. Tinnitus might sound like ringing in the ears or various other sounds, such as whistling or buzzing. These sounds can be irritating and cause anxiety, especially when they disrupt sleep. Hearing aids can help to treat hearing loss and tinnitus and they can be combined with sound devices and other treatments for tinnitus.

Although there are links between hearing loss and depression and anxiety, there are treatments available for all of these issues. A hearing test can reveal whether any hearing loss is present so that the best solution can be found. It’s also important to address depression and anxiety in other ways, especially as hearing loss might not be the only complicating factor.

Get in touch with The Hearing Aid Place to find out more about your hearing health and how it can affect your mental health. Call our office at 510-768-7091.