Managing depression and hearing loss

If you have feelings of isolation and loneliness, of being cut off from the world around you or that no one understands you, you are not alone. Many feel the same way, but sometimes a hearing loss makes it all feel that much worse. It can affect the way you interact with others, how you work and study and can be very difficult to talk about. Depression as a side effect to hearing loss tends to go unacknowledged, undiagnosed and untreated. But once its recognised, it can be managed.

Knowing the signs

Imagine you’re a cup filled with emotions: happy, sad, angry and every other feeling you can think of. Depression picks you up and pours everything out, leaving you feeling empty and at a loss of what to do about it. Its very normal to feel frustrated and helpless at not being able to communicate your feelings to those around you.

While hearing loss can be easily diagnosed and treated at an early stage, depression can be harder to recognise. It’s different for each person and some signs are less obvious than others. Things to look out for can include, but aren’t limited to:

  • No appetite

  • Irregular sleeping pattern or increased fatigue

  • Being more prone to anger or crying

  • Lack of confidence

  • Becoming withdrawn, unable to be open with people

  • Loss of interest in activities/hobbies

  • Feelings of hopelessness and that things won’t get better

  • Concerns from family or friends over changes in behaviour

One-on-one interviews and psychological testing with a professional can help pinpoint depression, but the stigma of mental illness can make you reluctant to seek out this help. Sometimes the emotional shift is so gradual that it’s not until someone asks you if you’re okay that you can realise something might be wrong.

Strategies for managing it

It’s important is to recognise when your mood is taking a turn for the worse and how best to combat these feelings. There are many ways depression from hearing loss can be managed:

  • Support groups (online chat groups and in-person meet ups)

  • Talking to a professional such as a counsellor or psychologist

  • Medications

  • Reducing time around stressful activities or people

  • Writing down thoughts in a mood diary

  • Pursuing hobbies and activities that don’t require hearing (reading, drawing, going to an art gallery, going for a walk)

No single method works for everyone, some find medications to be effective while others prefer counselling. Just like hearing loss, depression is not about being healed, or to “un-break” yourself, but instead finding strategies that allow you to recognise signs early and learning effective ways of coping.

You are not alone

Having depression doesn’t mean suffering in silence. There are plenty of resources available to assist you. Asking for help and getting support means you can take control of your wellbeing and get back to feeling like yourself. We all feel like empty cups sometimes, it just about finding ways to fill back up.

If you’d like more information and resources on depression and hearing loss, we’re always happy to chat. Click here to get in touch.