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According to a recent study hearing loss is associated with depression among American adults, especially women and those younger than age 70.

In the new study, the research indicated that as hearing declined, the percentage of depressed adults increased — from about 5 percent in those who had no hearing problems to more than 11 percent in those who did with the exception of those who would fall into the “deaf” category.

Individuals who classified themselves as deaf (little to no usable hearing) were roughly half as likely to be depressed as people with excellent hearing.  The lead researcher on the team Dr. Chuan-Ming Li provided an explanation.

“One reason for this result may be that people with severe to profound hearing impairment have had a different experience in their exposure and access to hearing health care. They are more likely to have been “discovered” and offered treatments like hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Thus, their lower prevalence of depression may be because a higher proportion of them have had access to hearing health care services and thereby have obtained more help and earlier interventions than those with mild to moderate hearing impairment.”

Researchers can’t yet say why women might have stronger links between hearing impairment and depression.  However, “we should encourage people to find out about hearing loss and how people successfully cope with it,” Li said. “It can be very helpful – and empowering – for an individual to know that others are in the same situation and are finding ways to cope.”

If you are experiencing signs of depression you should contact your family physician. If you are having trouble hearing, contact us today, we can help.