The link between hearing loss and depression

It’s normal to feel low sometimes, particularly when you’re trying to cope with changes in your hearing or the impact a hearing loss is having on your everyday life. But if sad feelings become intense, lasting longer and stopping you enjoying the things you used to, it’s important to speak to a health professional as you may be experiencing depression.

What is depression?

Depression is a serious condition which impacts on both physical and mental health. It’s an intense feeling of sadness, more than the sadness we all feel now and then, and lasting longer. It affects how we see ourselves, our sense of worth and the enjoyment we get out of life.

What are the signs of depression?

Not everyone with depression has the same symptoms but some of the signs, aside from a general sense of sadness, are: changes in sleep, withdrawing socially, no longer enjoying things that used to make you happy, feeling worthless or helpless, changes in appetite, feeling overwhelmed or being unable to concentrate. In some cases, you may feel life isn’t worth living.

What should I do if I think I may have depression?

It’s really important to talk to a health professional if you feel you may be experiencing depression. They will be able to help with diagnosis and discuss any treatments that may suit you best. There are very effective treatment options, including different types of psychological therapies, medications or a mix of both. Remember you’re not alone, many Australian adults have depression.

What can I do at home to help my depression?

While a health professional should always be consulted if you feel you may be experiencing depression, there are also things you can do at home which may lift your mood or prevent depressive episodes. Physical activity, eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and practising good sleep habits have all been proven to help.

Can wearing hearing aids help my depression?

Wearing hearing aids won’t make your depression go away, but it should be considered as part of your plan to manage it. One of the big risk factors for depression is social isolation, and those of us with a hearing loss are known to withdraw from social occasions, finding them tiring and draining. Using a hearing aid will make it easier for you to be socially active so you’ll be at less risk of isolation. It’ll also help alleviate stress and fatigue, both of which are known to contribute to depression.

Who can I contact for more information or if I’m concerned for myself or my loved one?

Lifeline (crisis support) – 13 11 14
Beyond Blue (advice and support 24/7) – 1300 22 4636