Over 50-million Americans experience hearing loss to some degree. If you’re one of them, it could affect your life in many different ways. As any audiologist will confirm, various additional health issues can be linked to hearing loss. Depression and anxiety stand out as two of the most common problems.
The links aren’t merely anecdotal, either. In fact, studies state that 11.4% of people with self-reported hearing loss also show symptoms of moderate to severe depression. This is compared to just four percent of individuals who have excellent hearing. So, it is a topic that anyone who experiences hearing loss must pay attention to.
How Does Hearing Loss Increase the Risk of Anxiety and Depression?
Healthy hearing is an essential feature of living a healthy life, and its impact extends far beyond simply enabling you to hear different sounds. It holds a huge influence on the way you interact with the world around you, including people, which is why the increased risk of anxiety or depression should come as no surprise.
Furthermore, the likelihood of experiencing emotional health problems increases as hearing loss worsens. Studies show that individuals with mild hearing loss have a 32% higher chance of anxiety than people with healthy hearing, but that figure grows to 59% for people with moderate and severe hearing loss.
Several factors can contribute to the links between hearing loss and reduced emotional health. Some of the most telling factors include, but are not limited to:
- Social isolation: When you struggle to hear things properly, especially in group settings, you may find yourself consciously or subconsciously avoiding gatherings due to the fear of embarrassment. In turn, missing out on key events can leave you feeling withdrawn from friends and relatives.
- Fatigue: When you experience hearing loss, every conversation and interaction requires your brain to work far harder than someone with healthy hearing. In turn, fatigue can lead to depression and general negativity. Not least because you will feel bereft of energy to complete tasks that make you happy.
- Safety fears: Hearing loss may stop you from hearing warning sounds such as ambulance sirens, fire alarms and people shouting to warn you about hazards. Even when you are not in danger, the knowledge that you could be will naturally cause symptoms of anxiety in daily rituals.
It can become a vicious cycle if your hearing loss is left untreated. On a brighter note, there are solutions to help you regain control of the situation.
How To Prevent Anxiety & Depression with Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is far from the only cause of anxiety, depression and emotional health issues. However, if you have noticed the symptoms and their impacts on your daily life, it is important to consider your hearing. If you have noticed that you now listen to the TV on a higher setting or struggle to follow conversations, hearing loss may be the cause of anxiety.
As with many aspects of your health, treating the underlying issues will have a hugely positive impact, even if it doesn’t remove the symptoms completely. An audiologist can complete a thorough hearing test to confirm whether hearing loss is present. This can include a host of examinations to determine the type and severity of hearing loss.
Depending on the severity of hearing loss, hearing aids can be used to treat hearing loss and alleviate anxiety. Here’s why:
- The right type of hearing aids will be calibrated to restore as much hearing as possible, which will allow you to interact with loved ones and your surroundings once again. This will promote increased mental health and happiness for years to come.
- Modern hearing aids can include special features like playing white noise to combat tinnitus and the frustration that comes from experiencing it. By feeling less irritated and exhausted in daily life, you may find that your sleep patterns improve with significant results too.
- Knowing that you’ve taken positive steps to tackle hearing loss will change your mindset for the better, which instantly lifts a weight of stress from your shoulders. It can subsequently reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression that you may experience.
Reduced symptoms of poor emotional health are just some of the benefits that can be gained from treating hearing loss with the help of an audiologist. But quick action is required.
To find out more about the mental impacts of hearing loss, or to book a hearing test contact Norriton Hearing Center at (610) 273-6077 now.