Hearing loss is a growing concern around the world, with experts claiming that numbers of those affected is poised to rise dramatically in the years to come. Unfortunately, hearing loss affects more than just your ability to interact with the world. According to numerous studies, hearing loss sufferers tend to be more depressed and socially isolated, which means that in the not too distant future we could have a hearing-related mental health crisis on our hands.
Given this impending problem, it's important for everyone to understand the connection between deafness and depression. Perhaps even more importantly, we should all learn what tools we can use to curtail the mental impact of hearing loss.
Hearing Loss and Depression
Without a doubt, the connection between hearing loss and depression seems logical enough, but it's still worth examining how they're connected. Sadly, the research surrounding the interaction between these two conditions is sorely lacking, as studies tend to use be too narrowly focused or rely on incomplete datasets. Despite these drawbacks, a large body of evidence suggests that hearing loss leads to cognitive and emotional strain, as sufferers struggle to maintain their normal routines and lifestyle despite their failing hearing. Similarly, as people lose their hearing, they also tend to shy away from social interaction, isolating themselves from potentially embarrassing to challenging situations. As a result, depression sets in, with the rates of hearing loss and depression rising concurrently in many instances.
How You Can Help?
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to lessen the effects of both hearing loss and depression. For starters, using assistive devices such as hearing aids can actually help people retain more of their natural hearing ability. And with modern hearing aid technology, the devices are small enough not to be noticed, and the digitally enhanced sound makes them easier to use and more effective than ever before.
Even though it can help, assistive technology can't solve all of the problems related to hearing loss and mental health. In fact, studies have shown that the best way to fight hearing loss-related depression is through social support. Hearing loss sufferers need people to talk with, people that they can rely upon, and, not surprisingly, researchers have found that people with the strongest levels of support from family, friends, neighbors, spouses and partners also have to lowest levels of depression. Additionally, this kind of social interaction can help to slow the rate of hearing loss significantly.
Hearing loss may be on the rise, but that doesn't mean depression and anxiety have to come with it. So if you know someone who is struggling with hearing loss, be sure to take the time to talk with them and offer support. It might just be the best medicine to cure depression.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!