The results of a study investigating the connection between hearing loss and depression found that older adults with some form of hearing loss were 47% more likely to also have depression symptoms, according to an article in Reuters.
Originally published in The Gerontologist, the research review looked at 35 previous studies encompassing 147, 148 participants, who were at least 60 years old.
“We know that older adults with hearing loss often withdraw from social occasions, like family events because they have trouble understanding others in noisy situations, which can lead to emotional and social loneliness,” lead study author Blake Lawrence of the Ear Science Institute Australia, in Subiaco, and the University of Western Australia in Crawley, was quoted as saying in Reuters.
Additionally, the article goes on to add that the brain may work harder to interpret sound from a weaker auditory signal, draining resources needed to maintain working memory or other cognitive functions. A weaker signal may also cause the “reorganization” of neural pathways, potentially changing the way depression is regulated in the brain.
In a new white paper produced by The Hearing Review and sponsored by Hamilton CapTel, “Depression, Hearing Loss, and Treatment with Hearing Aids,” audiologist and educator Victor Bray, PhD, reviews previous landmark studies as well as more recent research into the complex relationship between hearing loss and depression. The paper helps identify patient populations who might benefit most from hearing devices. Additionally, Dr Bray’s webinar “Depression, Hearing Loss, and Treatment with Hearing Aids,” discusses the risk factors for depression among people with hearing loss as well as why hearing care providers should screen for depression when risk factors are present.
Original Paper: Lawrence BJ, Jayakody DMP, Bennett RJ, Eikelboom RH, Gasson N, Friedland PL. Hearing loss and depression in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Gerontologist. 2019:1-19. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnz009
Source: Reuters, The Hearing Review, The Gerontologist