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