Untreated hearing loss linked to depression in seniors article image

Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Depression in Seniors

by | Oct 5, 2018 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources | 0 comments

Loss can lead to depression. Loss of a loved one. Loss of mobility. But what about hearing loss? It happens so gradually that it isn’t always obvious to family and friends, but its effects are just as dramatic.

New research by the Senior Research Group of the National Council on Aging found adults ages 50 and over with untreated hearing loss were more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and paranoia. Unsurprisingly, they were also less likely to engage in social activities.

It’s irrefutable proof that hearing loss, especially in the more senior members of our society, comes with a significant mental and emotional toll.


Just how bad is it?

The study surveyed 2300 hearing-impaired adults over the age of 50, as well as over 2000 close friends or family members. And this is what the numbers said:

  • 30% of adults with an untreated, severe hearing loss reported feeling sad or depressed, compared to 22% of hearing aid users
  • 23% of adults with an untreated hearing loss felt people usually got angry at them for no reason (a proxy for paranoia), compared to 14% of hearing aid users
  • Only 32% of adults with an untreated severe hearing loss participated in regular social activities, compared with 42% of hearing aid users

The message was clear: hearing aid users don’t feel as sad as often and get out and about more.

However, in America today, only 2 out of every 5 seniors with a hearing loss use hearing aids.


Hearing aids can make a real difference

Questioning the hearing aid users in the study revealed that hearing aids had improved almost every aspect of their lives. Once again, the numbers did the talking:

  • Over a quarter of hearing aid users felt hearing aids improved their work relationships
  • Over a third saw improvements in their social life
  • Over half saw improvements in their relationships at home

What’s more, their close friends and family were even more likely to report these very same benefits.

What’s the next step?

If you are experiencing a hearing loss or know of a loved one who is, book a hearing test today with us at Acadian Hearing. A hearing test is the first step towards getting fitted with hearing aids, which the research shows can truly transform lives for the hearing impaired and their family and friends.

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Dr. Heidi J Sorrells - Audiologist

Dr. Heidi J. Sorrells obtained her doctorate degree from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota. She is a certified audiologist by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and she holds a Louisiana and a Texas audiology license. Dr. Sorrells enjoys all aspects of working in a private practice audiology clinic but especially loves the challenges of vestibular (balance) assessment and rehabilitation.