Hearing loss is common among older adults and is strongly associated with both poorer physical and mental health and well being. Especially people under the age of 70 are at higher risk of depression caused by loss of hearing.
To explore the association between treatment with a hearing aid or cochlear implant with depressive symptoms in older adults, researchers from Johns Hopkins University, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and Drexel University in the US investigated the depressive symptoms of 113 participants aged 50 years or older.
Better hearing helps
After the participants were fitted with either hearing aids (63 participants) or a cochlear implant (50 participants) their depressive symptoms was measured using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS).
After six months using either hearing aids or cochlear implants, the GDS score decreased by 28% for the hearing aid users and 31% for the users of cochlear implants.
Hearing loss associated with depression
Another previous study that analyzed data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has found that hearing loss is associated with depression, especially among women and people under the age of 70.
The study offers hope that older adults with hearing loss who are suffering from depressive symptoms may see improvement in their condition when using hearing aids or cochlear implants.
The study was published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery.