There’s a lot of research available that demonstrates the association between hearing loss and depression. And it’s no surprise why. When it’s difficult to hear, it’s difficult to communicate. And when it’s difficult to communicate, it’s difficult for people with hearing loss to socialize and stay connected with their community. Social isolation and loneliness can easily develop into depression.

However, did you know there’s also research that directly links hearing aid use with a reduced risk of depression in individuals with hearing loss. Let’s explore.

About the study

The study, conducted by the University of Michigan, sought to examine the association of hearing aid use and time to diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression and injurious falls among adults. The study used insurance claims through a Medicare HMO from 2008 to 2016 for over 114,000 participants aged 66 years and older diagnosed with hearing loss.

The study separated the examined individuals with hearing loss into 2 groups. The first one consisted of individuals who had been prescribed hearing aids. The second were those who did not receive hearing aids. From there, the researchers looked at the difference in depression, dementia and injurious fall diagnoses between those with and those without hearing aids.

What did the study determine?

The study found that individuals with hearing aids had an 11% lower risk of depression than those without. The study also confirmed existing research that found that people with hearing loss had much higher rates of dementia, depression and fall injuries than the general population.

The TL;DR version: People who obtained hearing aids within the three years after being diagnosed with hearing loss had decreased rates of depression.

Linking hearing aid use with lowered risk of depression

Hearing aids play a powerful role in reducing an individual’s risk of depression. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), staying more connected to the world around us is key to reducing the impact of loneliness and isolation, both of which are risk factors for depression. And better hearing is integral to staying social by making communication easier and allows us to lead more active lives. With the help of hearing aids, we can easily take part in the NIA’s top recommendations for staying connected and combatting social isolation (and ultimately, depression): 

  • Stay in touch with family, friends, and neighbors whether in-person, online, or by phone. 
  • Join new or favorite activities to meet others with similar interests and have fun. 
  • Exercise to lower stress, lift your mood, and energize. Did you know hearing aids also help support balance and gait?
  • Volunteer to help others and feel 100 times better by doing it. 

Hear Well and See Well with Professional Hearing Care

As we age, it’s only natural we may discover we tend to have a little more time alone. However, it’s important that that alone time is purposeful and NOT a result of factors like social isolation, withdrawal or hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and find yourself withdrawing from friends and family because it’s difficult to communicate, reach out to a licensed hearing care professional today. Find out what noises you may be missing! Schedule an appointment today for a hearing consultation.