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August 21, 2018

Age-related hearing loss associated with depression in older adults

Age-related hearing loss is associated with increased depressive symptoms in otherwise healthy older adults, a study finds.

Age-related hearing loss associated with depression in older adults

An American study confirms earlier findings and finds an association between age-related hearing loss and depression symptoms.

Up to 1.85 higher risk of depression

According to the study, age-related hearing loss is associated with increased depressive symptoms in otherwise healthy older adults. This was shown through a 10-year follow-up study that examined participants with healthy/improving hearing and participants with impaired/worsening hearing.

The risk of having increased depression symptoms for participants with impaired/worsening hearing were 1.63 times higher compared to participants with healthy/improving hearing after adjusting for age, race, gender, and education. The risk of having a high degree of depression symptoms for participants with impaired/worsening hearing were 1.85 times higher than the risk for participants with healthy/improving hearing after adjusting for age, race, gender, and education.

The study also found that hearing aid use was not significantly associated with increased risk of depression after adjusting for age, race, gender, and education.

Earlier studies

Earlier a study found that hearing loss is associated with depression, especially among women and people under the age of 70. The study analyzed data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, including 18,000 adults aged 18 or older.

A large French study found that among men reporting hearing loss and not using hearing aids there was a much higher risk (43%) of developing depressive symptoms than for people without hearing loss or people who used hearing aids, when having a hearing loss.

Tinnitus and depression

People with chronic tinnitus may also experience depression, an Italian study has found.

About the study

The study examined 1,204 participants aged 70-79 years at baseline over 10 years. The participants had self-reported hearing loss and the hearing loss was measured with standardized self-reports at years 1, 5, and 11. The study also included audiometric evaluations at year 5. Hearing aid use was also self-reported at years 1, 5, and 11. The depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) and was assessed at Years 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10.

Source: “Age-Related Hearing Loss and its Association with Depression in Later Life” published in American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry in 2018.

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