Hearing Loss in the Elderly May Contribute to Depression

Jan 3, 2019

Age-related hearing loss is associated with conditions such as cognitive impairment and dementia. A new study has found it may have one more association -- depression.

 

 

More than 5000 Hispanic participants over the age of 50 were tested for hearing loss and screened for depression.

 

Researchers found that the greater the hearing loss in the elderly, the more likely they were to be depressed.

 

Participants with mild hearing loss were more than twice as likely to have depressive symptoms than those with normal hearing. And individuals with severe hearing loss were more than four times as likely. About half of adults over the age of 75 have trouble hearing, according to the National Institutes of Health. The authors said treating hearing loss might head off late-life depression and call for better diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, but also note further research is needed.

 

The study was recently published in the journal of the American Medical Association Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.