If you have untreated hearing loss and you’re also having problems with your mood, the two conditions may be linked. In this post, we review the connection and how you can improve both your hearing and boost your mood.
What Does the Research Show?
One 2022 study published in the journal Frontiers of Aging Neuroscience investigated the association between untreated hearing loss, social and emotional loneliness, social isolation, social support and psychological discomfort in older adults.
A total of 202 volunteers ages 40 to 89 completed a hearing assessment, social interaction and support questionnaire and social and emotional loneliness questionnaire.
The study authors reported, “Untreated hearing loss significantly increases the odds of being emotionally lonely. Depression significantly contributes to social and emotional loneliness, satisfaction with social support and social loneliness. Given the higher prevalence of loneliness and psychological discomfort and their associations with untreated hearing loss, hearing-impaired older adults are at significant risk of developing loneliness and psychological discomfort.”
Why Is There a Link Between Untreated Hearing Loss & Mood Problems?
For those who can’t hear well, they may worry about misunderstanding people. This constant worry can spiral into an anxiety disorder and cause them to withdraw from situations where they could feel this way, like Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park, leading to feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Social isolation is a major risk factor for depression.
How Can I Address Mood Problems Caused by Hearing Loss?
Those experiencing mood problems who also have untreated hearing loss should schedule an appointment with an audiologist. Audiologists are hearing experts who can administer diagnostic hearing tests and prescribe hearing aids. Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds to a level the wearer can easily detect.
While hearing aids are the gold standard treatment for most cases of hearing loss, cochlear implants may instead be recommended for people with severe to profound hearing loss.
For those still struggling with mood after seeking treatment for hearing loss, they should see a licensed mental health professional who can help stabilize their mood.
For more information about this connection or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call San Francisco Audiology today.