The Link Between Untreated Hearing Loss and Mental Health

In Family and Relationships, hearing, hearing accessories, hearing loss, Lifestyle and Leisure by Ed Kocher, ACA, BC-HIS

Ed Kocher, ACA, BC-HIS

You know that living with untreated hearing loss leads to a disconnect with your everyday life. You don’t hear the phone ringing, you’ve missed the doorbell three times this week, and you can’t follow conversations as easily as you used to. You have started staying home rather than meeting friends for dinner, and you can’t remember what the birds sound like. But did you know that hearing loss is also linked to your mental health? Let’s take a look at the link between untreated hearing loss and mental health.

Mental Health: Signs of Depression

For those with untreated hearing loss, one of the most common mental illnesses is depression. Depression affects all Americans, with over 15 million adults fighting depression every year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Depression can be hard to spot, and it’s often undiagnosed and untreated. Do you know the signs of depression?

Depression isn’t just having a bad day, or acting glum; it’s a serious condition that affects your mental, emotional and physical health. You can’t just sleep on it and hope you feel better in the morning. In fact, untreated depression usually gets worse, not better. Common signs of depression include sadness, feeling hopeless and helpless, and entertaining negative thoughts. A person struggling with depression experiences fatigue, and has difficulty remember details and concentrating. It’s common to have disrupted eating and sleeping patterns, and to become irritable and withdrawn.

Hearing Loss and Depression

So, what do depression and mental health have to do with hearing loss? A number of studies have shown a clear link between untreated hearing loss and many negative mental health outcomes. A recent study by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that people living with untreated hearing loss are far more likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, frustration, instability, and paranoia, and feel socially isolated and alone. Those with more profound hearing loss had even worse mental health. The journal of the British Geriatrics Society reported that seniors with hearing loss are 80% more likely to suffer from depression!

If you have a hearing loss, you know that communication is one of the first things to break down. You use so much energy just trying to hear the words that you often don’t understand the meaning behind the words. What started out as a missing word here or there has turned into whole sentences sounding muffled or garbled. Conversations are full of holes as you play a game of fill in the blanks, and everyone gets frustrated when you have to ask your loved one to repeat themselves four times. Communication becomes difficult, and it’s no surprise that you’re not able to connect with your loved ones like you used to.

You might feel embarrassed to go to social gatherings because you just can’t keep up with all those conversations, or there’s too much background noise. You might avoid going out, but avoiding social situations means you have less quality interactions with friends and loved ones, and you begin to feel isolated. Feeling alone and helpless, the slippery slope towards worse mental health is at your feet.

How Hearing Aids Can Help

If you have noticed changes in your hearing, take steps to protect your mental, emotional, and physical health. If you have untreated hearing loss and struggle with your mental health, the best thing you can do is to take a hearing test and get fitted for hearing aids. Those who treat their hearing loss and wear hearing devices show a sharp decrease in depression after just a few weeks. Restoring your ability to hear clearly and communicate easily with the people around you greatly increases your quality of life, and allows you to get back to the things you love the most. Enjoy a family BBQ, play with the grandkids, or meet your friends for a drink and never think about your hearing. Hearing aids improve mental health, treat depression, improve relationships, and increase self-confidence, independence, and safety.

If you or a loved one has a hearing loss, don’t wait. Living with untreated hearing loss and suffering the consequences isn’t an option. Safeguard your health, and treat your hearing loss with a quality hearing device from one of our top brands. We have every style and fit, and our knowledgeable hearing professionals will help you find the device that fits your life. Contact us at Advanced Tech Hearing today!