May is a significant month in the health community, a time to celebrate not one but two holidays: Mental Health Awareness and Better Speech & Hearing Month. Mental health and hearing health are intimately connected, but the connection may be deeper than many understand. Here’s how hearing loss affects mental health, and how one can help.
The first way that hearing loss affects mental health is understandable. If you cannot hear or follow the conversation of family and friends, it can leave you feeling isolated and alone. The less one is able to hear properly, the harder it is to follow conversations. This manifests in more than just asking someone to repeat what they said; it could also include missing the change in topic as one conversation morphed into another. The inability to follow conversations can also lead to paranoia, lending one to think that others are talking about them because they can’t hear what’s being said.
Studies Linking Mental Health and Hearing Loss
Numerous studies have indeed linked the increase of hearing loss with an increase in depression. Sadly, many are 5% more likely to experience depression with every increment of hearing ability lost. Another study, published in April 2014 by Jamanetwork, found that 11.4% of adults with self-reported hearing loss had moderate to severe depression and 19.1% with mild depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is not merely characterized by sadness or emptiness but can show through paranoia, irritability, anger, and sleep changes. The inability to hear and join in with everyone else could leave a person angry, irritable, confused, and saddened, perhaps without them knowing.
The second way that hearing loss affects mental health is the brain itself. Hearing loss causes the brain to work harder to process sounds and speech, making it easier for the brain to lose its auditory and memory muscles. The effect hearing loss has on the brain only compounds the frustration in trying to hear.
How to Help
Talking to a loved one about hearing loss can be difficult, but the best way to approach it is to highlight the benefits of treatment rather than “the need to get help.” If you need an audiologist, Clarity Audiology in Baltimore welcomes new patients and offers hearing tests, brain health tests, hearing aids, and much more.
Trust the Experts at Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions
Need help with your hearing? Clarity Hearing can help. Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions is an independently owned and operated clinic that focuses on quality of care and personalized, friendly service to the surrounding areas of Ellicott City, Catonsville, Columbia. Our Doctors of Audiology are highly trained with advanced degrees and take the time to provide the personalized care and attention that you need and deserve. We provide advanced hearing aid options that are personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.