In 2019, 13% of U.S. adults ages 18 and older had some difficulty hearing, even when using a hearing aid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And hearing loss doesn’t just affect quality of life — recent research links it with depression.
Although prevalence estimates vary, as many as 1 in 5 older adults with hearing loss experiences clinical depression symptoms, with more persistent depressive symptoms increasing in people with greater hearing loss.
Hearing loss is associated with a range of other mental health issues in older adults, including anxiety and suicidal thoughts. It also may signal poorer cognitive functioning.
Whether these comorbidities — or conditions that coincide — affect patients young or old, treatment is the key to alleviating symptoms and increasing quality of life.
Steps to treat hearing loss
As with any illness, it’s important to seek treatment for hearing loss as part of an overall health strategy.
At Signia, we recommend doing the following things to combat hearing loss and avoid other health problems:
- Get an annual hearing exam from a hearing care professional.
- If you have hearing loss, get a hearing care provider to prescribe and fit you with hearing aids based on your level of hearing loss and individual needs.
- When communicating with health professionals or loved ones, make sure they face you whenever possible, so you can read his or her lips and pick up on visual cues.