The world's #1 website on hearing and hearing loss
Since 1999

August 28, 2014

Hearing loss may lead to depression

Hearing loss is associated with depression, especially among women and people under the age of 70, a study has found.

Hearing loss may lead to depression

When the ability to hear decreases, it may also lead to depression. Particularly women and people under the age of 70 are at higher risk of falling into a depression, caused by loss of hearing, a study from the U.S. suggests.

Hearing impairment and depression

By analysing data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, including 18,000 adults aged 18 or over, a group of researchers investigated the link between hearing impairment and depression. 

Among the adults with an excellent hearing experience, 5% felt depressed. This number increased to 7% in those with good hearing. While among those with a greater hearing impairment the number of people feeling depressed rose to 11.4%. Interestingly, the deaf participants seemed nearly immune to depression with a rate of only 0.06%.

Furthermore, at any level of hearing loss, nearly 15% of women across all ages felt depressed compared to 9% of men.

Lack of communication

Even though the researchers report that the cause-and-effect relationship between hearing loss and depression is unknown, the CEO of the National Council on Ageing in the U.S., James Firman, is not surprised by the results.

“People with hearing loss, especially those who don’t use hearing aids, find it more difficult to communicate with other people, whether in family situations, social gatherings or at work.”

Based on the study, the researchers recommend that if you suspect that you have a hearing loss, you should contact a hearing health care professional and have your hearing tested.

About the study

The study was conducted by a group of researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in the U.S. and was published in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery.


Please use our articles

You are very welcome to quote or use our articles. The only condition is that you provide a direct link to the specific article you use on the page where you quote us.

Unfortunately you cannot use our pictures, as we do not have the copyright, but only have the right to use them on our website.