When You Hear Better, You Feel Better
There is strong evidence linking untreated hearing loss to a number of other illnesses, including mental and brain health.
Several studies have also found a link between hearing loss and depression, but these studies have generally been based on self-reported hearing loss.
For example, a survey of more than 3,000 adults found that those who did not get help for their hearing were less likely to participate in social activities and were more likely to report sadness, depression and anxiety.
Recently, a group of researchers at Columbia University’s New York Presbyterian Hospital and elsewhere studied the relationship between measured hearing loss and depression in more than 5,000 Hispanic adults from several major cities in the United States. The average age was 58 years.
Hearing loss and depression
Although 18% of this group had hearing loss, fewer than 1% had gotten help for their hearing. Of the nearly 200 adults with significant hearing loss, only about 25% used hearing aids.
The researchers found that the adults who had hearing loss and did not use hearing aids were much more likely to experience depression than those without hearing loss. Someone with a mild to moderate hearing loss who did not use hearing aids was about twice as likely to have depression.
Hearing aids make a difference
Apparently hearing aids minimize these effects. A 2019 study of more than 110,000 adults with hearing loss found that the group who used hearing aids had less depression, significantly reduced risk of dementia, and fewer serious falls. These findings support previous research indicating that hearing aids minimize the negative effects of hearing loss on overall health, including brain health. Hearing aids not only allow us to hear better-they also help us to feel better.