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Hearing

Hearing loss brings with it an increased risk of depression

Hearing loss brings with it an increased risk of depression

A study performed last year by researchers from the US National Institutes of Health found that there was a strong link between hearing impairment and an increased risk of depression. Even mild hearing loss could have an impact, according to the study. Let’s take a closer look.

The study

The study was performed by interviewing over 18,000 people over 18. Participants had their hearing tested and performed a standardised questionnaire about depression. The findings strongly indicated a link between hearing loss and depression. The risk of moderate to severe depression was about five per cent for people with excellent hearing. People with good hearing had a seven per cent risk. And people with some hearing impairment had an 11 per cent risk. The worse a person’s hearing impairment was, the higher their risk of depression. Except for people who were completely deaf.

Break it down

The study’s author, Chuan-Ming Li, MD, PhD points out that “hearing impairment tends to isolate people from friends and family because of a decreased ability to communicate.” This feeling of disconnection can impact one’s psychological wellbeing and overall health. Interestingly, this effect is more pronounced in women under the age of 70.

If you notice any of the warning signs of hearing loss (muffled sounds, needing to ask people to speak more slowly or loudly, etc), you should speak to your doctor. The earlier you treat hearing loss, the more you can reduce your risk of developing depression.

If you are depressed, or you think somone you know might be, click here to contact the Depression Helpline, or give them a call on 0800 111 757.