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Have you ever felt like your hearing loss is affecting your mood? You’re certainly not alone. In fact, older Americans with hearing loss can often have symptoms of depression. Do you spend your whole day struggling to hear, and notice that you’re having a harder time connecting with loved ones? These communication challenges can easily lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression.
The Feeling of Missing Out
People with untreated hearing loss often feel left out of social interactions. No matter how hard they try, they just can’t hear clearly, or participate in fun family events. Social activities with friends become exhausting and unsatisfying. Have you ever left a party early because you just couldn’t hear, or decided to stay home all together? Social isolation and the feeling of missing out is very common among those living with untreated hearing loss.
How do you feel when you avoid going to a fun event because of your hearing loss? Or how do you feel when you can’t hear what your loved one is saying? We’ve talked to countless people with hearing loss, and many of them describe feeling sad and lonely on a daily basis. It’s very upsetting when everyone else can enjoy a good time, but you feel left out and unable to participate.
What Do the Numbers Say?
A 2014 study about hearing loss and depression asked more than 18,300 adults about their hearing and their mental health. The study found that 4.9% of people with normal hearing have depression, while 11.4% of people with hearing loss had moderate or severe depression! People with hearing loss are more than twice as likely to have depression as those without hearing loss.
Meanwhile, a more recent study from 2019 estimates that older adults with hearing loss have a higher risk of depression. As many as 20% of older adults with hearing loss have symptoms of depression.
The Emotional Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
Hearing loss affects your emotions. Along with feeling sad or lonely, you may also start feeling anxious. You worry about what others are saying, but no matter how much you strain to hear you can’t quite figure out what was said. You wonder if others are talking about you, or saying negative things about you. It’s also common to feel anxious about mishearing what’s been said, and worrying you may answer a question inappropriately.
Hearing loss can lead to other changes in mood. For example, people with hearing loss are more likely to be irritable or easily upset. Hearing loss can also increase moments of anger, and make it more difficult to concentrate on tasks.
The Social Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
When you struggle to hear, you miss out on important conversations as well as the quiet little moments that bring your life so much joy. You also miss out on social events and may lose touch with your friends. Some of your loved ones may even start to treat your differently! They don’t realize the changes in your behavior are because of your hearing loss. They see these signs of hearing loss as a sign that you’re getting older, and just can’t understand anymore.
The Mental Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
Hearing loss also impacts your brain in some profound ways, and this can also lead to depression. Your brain is spending lots of energy straining to hear, and you don’t have enough brain power left over to process the sounds, make sense of what’s being said, or convert the information into memory. And while you’re straining to hear, some other brain functions get compromised. When the brain changes how it’s functioning, the areas that regulate emotion and mood can be affected. Your brain can actually get rewired when you have hearing loss, and this can lead to depression.
Schedule a Hearing Test
The best thing you can do to look after your hearing health and improve your mood is to book a hearing test with us today! If you have a hearing loss, then finding the perfect hearing aids will give you back your ability to communicate easily. Get back to the conversations you enjoy the most, spend time with family and friends, and improve your mood. Don’t let hearing loss affect your mood or lead to depression. Contact us today for an appointment.