Depression and Hearing Loss: Improve both

From the previous post of my blog focusing on relationships, many can relate to how difficult it is to keep a positive relationship going when one or both depression-week-image-300x300sides are dealing with depression.  Last year, it was estimated that 9.5% of the American adult population had a depressive disorder.  Some studies show  that 13 to 27 percent of older adults have depression that is not diagnosed as major depression, yet it still affects their health.

Depression has many facets and there are times when as a society we look at solving the problems by medication. But could there be non-chemical reasons for depression?  Hearing loss might be a culprit.

My wish is that everyone  obtained an audiometric baseline– especially those over the age of 50.   Another wish I have is that when the topic of depression is broached in the doctor’s office, whether or not it is bad enough to be classified as “clinical,” that the individual would be referred by their physician for a hearing exam, or at the very least would be given a hearing screening in the doctor’s office.

But how many people who go for help to a psychologist or physician have their hearing checked?  An estimated 10% of the population in the US and other Western countries has a hearing loss severe enough that it affects their daily life. {{1}}[[1]]Arlinger, Stig. “Negative consequences of uncorrected hearing loss-a review.” International Journal of Audiology 42 (2003): 2-2. [[1]] Many articles have been published, especially since 1990, on the negative effects of hearing loss on quality of life and how they can be reversed with hearing aids.  There was an excellent article in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2003 in support of screening for hearing loss in adults.  It covered everything, including types of hearing loss, screening and treatment.  This would be a great tool to use when marketing to physicians for referrals.  Barbara Weinstein gave a review of literature back in the mid 90s on the benefits to the quality of life when individuals treated their hearing loss.

As we continue to help people, we need to expand beyond our client base to our peers–other medical professionals and to the public at large in making them aware that hearing loss can affect not only our communication, but how we can react to the world at large.  It is difficult enough to have hearing loss affect relationships, but hopefully we can take the depression aspect out of the equation.


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1 Comment

  1. I appreciate what you said about depression being potentially caused by hearing loss. My brother has been telling me about how his wife has been having a hard time being motivated recently, and I think that it could be due to depression. I’ll share this information with them so that they can look into their options for getting her a hearing exam to see if it could be due to hearing loss.

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