Depression is linked to Hearing Loss

Recently published in the medical journal JAMA-Otolaryngology,  a study entitled “Hearing impairment associated with depression in US adults..” published by Roy Wilson, MD and others, showed a real correlation between hearing loss and the development of depression.   Surveys were sent to adults 18 years and older to determine the presence of depression and the co-presence of  hearing loss.  In patients with normal hearing, 4.9 percent of adults had depression;  while in patients with hearing loss, the rate was 11.4 percent.  As the hearing loss increased, so did the amount of depression.  Overall, nearly 1 in every 5 patients with hearing loss demonstrated symptoms of depression!   This is an alarmingly high number.  This finding was especially true for women, the study found.  These findings support my clinical impression that patients who fail to address hearing loss suffer consequences that are not readily apparent to them, but impact their lives significantly.   Fortunately, there is much that can be done to help.  Ear surgery, medications, and hearing amplifications are all options that can change poor hearing into normal hearing.  I have seen patients that have dramatically improved their cognitive abilities after aiding their hearing loss. Hearing loss can be treated!  And.. it is easy to obtain a hearing test at our office (Click here for our contact page).  Your hearing will be tested by Dr. Kristin Sewall, a PhD audiologist who trained James Madison University. Afterwords, you will receive a complete ear and neurotologic examination, followed by advice about what treatment best fits your condition, and whether a hearing aid is the correct choice for your particular loss.   We feel that symptoms of depression can be improved by staying connected to those family and friends around you.  Current hearing aid technology makes wearing hearing aids simple and discrete.  If you have hearing loss, or a loved one has hearing loss, don’t wait for depression to develop.