The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is urging people with symptoms of depression and/or anxiety to get their hearing checked and to address any diagnosed hearing loss, the institute announced today. Research shows that hearing loss frequently co-exists with depression and/or anxiety, and that people with untreated hearing loss may be at an increased risk of depression.
Hearing loss and depression are increasing worldwide. In fact, according to the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), the current global financial crisis has led to an increased number of people developing depression. According to a BBC report, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that within 20 years depression will affect more people than any other health problem. Already, hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older Americans. And as far back as 2004, more than 275 million people worldwide had moderate-to-profound hearing impairment. According to the WHO, hearing loss is the second leading cause of YLD (years lost due to disability) only after depression.
“We’ve known for a long time that depression and hearing loss often exist together, particularly in people with untreated hearing loss,” says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, Executive Director of BHI. “In fact, when left unaddressed, hearing loss can lead to isolation and other emotional conditions that can affect both qualify of life and mental health. But we also know that by treating hearing loss, the risk of associated depression and other mental health issues lessens significantly.”
Studies show that when people with mild-to-profound hearing loss use hearing aids, they experience decreased depressive symptoms, anxiety and emotional instability; significant improvements in quality of life and functional health status; and have significantly higher self-concepts compared to individuals with hearing loss who do not wear hearing aids. U.S. research shows that the use of hearing aids reduces the risk of income loss, and that those who use hearing aids are twice as likely to be employed as their peers who do not use hearing aids. Moreover, the vast majority of people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids.
If you have any questions about hearing loss or hearing aids contact Hidden Hearing.