Many of us are familiar with the symptoms of depression: loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss or gain, withdrawal, an absence of pleasure in the things one used to enjoy. But did you know that there can be a link between hearing loss and depression symptoms?

Depressed man on bench

Here, we examine some of the signs of depression that may result from hearing loss, and what you can do to help.

The Link Between Hearing Loss and Depression

Hearing loss can begin a negative cycle leading to depression. The hearing loss may cause a person to withdraw socially, and subsequent feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to depression. The longer hearing loss remains untreated, the more likely the sufferer is to isolate themselves and abstain from social situations. There could be many reasons for this, including:

  • The hearing loss makes social gatherings too difficult to attend
  • The hearing loss is causing a breakdown in communication with friends and family, leading to frustration
  • The person with hearing loss feels that they have become a burden to others when they cannot hear

Those suffering from hearing loss may feel they're missing out on things they once enjoyed, and that their life has changed -- not for the better. Depression naturally follows.

Are you concerned about your hearing health? Make an appointment to speak to an ENT doctor!

Signs of Depression to Look For

Here are a few of the most common signs of depression you can look for in your loved ones:

  • Isolation in social settings
  • Frustration with communication
  • The person with hearing loss feels like they are being a burden
  • They "shut down" when they can’t hear well
  • Lack of communication
  • Lack of interest in things that they used to enjoy, such as family gatherings, parties, sporting events

How Hearing Aids Can Help

Depression in patients due to untreated hearing loss is likely because they have lost their connection with the world around them. The first step in bridging the gap is hearing well again. Using hearing aids consistently can allow the user to reconnect socially with friends and loved ones, as well as take part in activities they previously enjoyed. But not all hearing aids are created equal.

You should first speak with an Audiologist about your particular circumstances and needs. Think about the activities that brought joy before the hearing loss forced isolation. During your evaluation with the Audiologist, you can express your specific goals for hearing better (i.e., family dinners, church, sporting events).Your Audiologist will be able to make specific recommendations for your lifestyle and budget. Purchasing and using hearing aids can improve quality of life in terms of both hearing and depression symptoms.

Read more: When to See an Audiologist for a Hearing Test

What You Can Do

It's natural to be concerned about your significant other or family member. When you're trying to help them address their hearing loss and possible depression, being concerned and proactive is essential.

  • Encourage them to get their hearing screened.
  • Notice if potential hearing loss is impacting their social life.
  • Be honest and gentle with them.
  • Once they get a hearing aid, encourage them to wear it consistently, not just on special occasions.

In general, the earlier someone invests in using a hearing aid, the better the results.

What Virginia ENT Has to Offer

Besides offering a suite of total hearing care services and products, Virginia ENT also offers Audiologic rehabilitation classes that focus not only on anatomy and physiology, but also the emotional side of hearing loss, depression, and effective communication strategies.

Doing something early about your hearing can make a huge difference. Don't wait. If you or a loved one are struggling, request an appointment for a hearing test today.