How Does Hearing Loss Lead to Depression?
While most people associate hearing loss with asking people to repeat themselves or turning the volume up on the television, these are not the only issues that come from hearing problems. One of the significant matters of hearing loss that is often ignored or not considered is depression.
With nearly 50 million Americans experiencing a degree of hearing loss, and with over 15 million citizens reporting some depressive episode in the year, such problems can compound and make existing conditions more challenging to deal with.
Unlike issues such as a virus or sickness bugs, hearing loss is often a permanent condition that will not get better over time. It is not something that you can recover from as you would a cold or the flu. Because of this, you are likely to feel as if your quality of life will drop, the same as you would with other chronic conditions.
Even though this may not be the case, especially with the advancements in hearing loss and hearing aid technology, it can still take time for you to come to terms with this new way of life for yourself. It could be a while for you to adjust to hearing loss, and you may not feel like you are the same person, which can severely impact your mental health.
People who experience hearing loss may start to resist engaging in social situations because they feel embarrassed about hearing problems. They feel like they are a burden on those around them, and they don’t want to draw attention to their hearing loss by asking people to repeat what they have said or to speak louder.
Being resistant to social engagement, however, can be a trigger for depression for some people. The lack of human interaction will eventually start to overwhelm, and this will only make any existing problems worse as time goes on.
Even if you decide to spend time with others, you can still feel like you are missing out. Sometimes, people may not understand your hearing problems and will not bother to make adjustments to their regular speech. You may also not want to share the truth about your hearing loss with people, especially strangers, meaning you miss out even when being right there.
The more you experience this, the more you are likely to shy away from social interaction until you find that you no longer feel compelled to hang out with others.
Anxiety and stress
Hearing loss is not just about struggling to hear your friends and family as well as you are used to in conversation; it also means that you cannot experience your favorite sounds as you once did. It could be that you realize that you took such sounds for granted before experiencing hearing loss, whether that is your favorite song, the sounds of nature or the general hustle and bustle that happens outside your window.
Missing out on these sounds can compound feelings of loneliness. You feel like you are not clued into what everybody else is, and this crests into a sadness that you perhaps did not initially expect when first discovering that you had hearing problems.
This sadness can eventually morph into stress and anxiety. You find that you panic and worry about things that were once second nature to you. Your anxiety and stress can happen both at work and home. You may start to worry about whether you heard requests properly or understood them correctly. You may convince yourself that you have missed urgent requests, and you are concerned about how this will reflect on you, especially if nobody is aware of your hearing issues.
Stress and anxiety are fully-fledged conditions in their own right, and they often go hand in hand with depression, especially if you find yourself in constant worry about things that others do not need to concern themselves with.
How to avoid depression brought on by hearing loss
A hearing loss audiologist is the best way for you to prevent the onset of depression following any hearing problems that you experience. You can discuss the best type of hearing aid for you, whether that is an in the ear (ITE), behind the ear (BTE) and in the canal (ITC).
Get in touch
It may not be evident on the surface, but the potential for depression following hearing loss can significantly impact everyone who experiences hearing problems. To learn more about possible solutions for hearing loss, get in touch with us at Baker Audiology & Hearing Aids today by calling us at 605-306-5756. Our team of hearing loss and audiologists are ready to answer any questions.
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