A lot of us think of hearing loss as a purely sensory deficit but, like any chronic health condition, it can have a serious impact on our mental health. In fact, the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders found that the rate of depression in the hearing impaired is approximately 11%, compared to just under 6% in those with self-perceived normal hearing.
Symptoms of Depression
Common symptoms of depression include a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, difficulty falling and / or staying asleep, a change in appetite, increased irritability, prolonged periods of sadness and a feeling of being overwhelmed.
The Link Between Hearing Loss and Depression
There are a number of factors that may lead to depression in those with hearing loss, including:
- Withdrawal from / avoidance of social situations due to communication difficulties.
- Increased irritability and frustration.
- Increased fatigue.
- A loss of interest in activities centred around communication.
- Increased anxiety about one’s inability to hear and / or mishearing.
- A lack of understanding from loved ones.
- Relationship strain.
- Additional stress at work.
- Increased reliance on loves ones to help in difficult listening environments.
- A loss of independence.
What Can be Done to Help?
Understanding your hearing loss and its impact on communication is an important first step. If you suspect a hearing loss see an Audiologist for testing or speak to your GP. Hearing aids and assistive listening devices are a great way to alleviate some of the fatigue and communication difficulties that accompany hearing impairment. Involving a loved one in hearing rehabilitation is another strong predictor of success as educating those close to people with hearing impairment can help to create a more understanding atmosphere in the home.
There are also a number of resources available to help deal with depression. These include:
If you would like to book a hearing test please call us on 08 8331 8047