The social isolation which can come from hearing loss can significantly increase the chances of suffering from depression.
People who can’t hear well struggle to take part in conversations with family and friends and often start to withdraw from society.
Our audiologist Ana Rodrigues looks at the links between hearing loss and depression.
Most of us are born with a fantastic hearing capacity. It is responsible for developing speech, perception and communication, allowing interaction with the people around us. Hearing is always responsible for receiving sounds and interpreting them.
Another skill that hearing provides is spatial orientation. With both ears without hearing loss we are able to get an idea of where sounds are coming from and, if we locate ourselves in space, we can interact with the noises around us.
Over the years many people lose their hearing capacity. This hearing loss is a natural ageing process.
Hearing Loss Signs
1 Not understanding speech without looking at the mouth of the speaker
2 Increasing the volume of the television
3 Difficulty speaking on the phone
4 Trouble understanding words when there are several people talking.
Hearing loss can impair communication and balance, which can lead to social isolation and decreased physical activity. It can also cause tinnitus, which can be especially debilitating in some cases and can contribute to depression.
Elderly people with hearing loss are more likely to have mild cognitive impairment and difficulty in completing daily activities.
Because they are not hearing well they may not have an active social life, leading to a greater chance of developing psychiatric problems, including dementia and depression.
People struggling to hear can’t communicate as they did in the past, can’t socialise with family and friends and, as a result, begin to isolate themselves.
This can lead to a less active social life and one which becomes more lonely. This contributes to the process of depression and even dementia.
Benefits of hearing aids
Untreated hearing loss has serious emotional and social consequences, especially for older people. Depression is common among older people but some of this could be due to hearing loss. For this reason, it is worth checking if this is the cause and, if so, it can be easily treated – and it has fewer ill effects and greater benefits.
The family can also play a fundamental role in this by talking to their relative and letting them know about hearing tests and the benefits of hearing aids.
If you believe you’re not hearing well, or you know someone struggling to hear, ring us on 0800 028 6179 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a free hearing test