From April 7th, 2017
Today is World Health Day, a day each year in which the World Health Organization (WHO) brings awareness to a specific health topic. This year WHO is focusing on spreading awareness about depression and mental health.
You might be wondering, how is hearing loss related to depression?
There is a connection between depression and hearing loss that is important to be mindful of.
More than 11 percent of those with hearing loss also suffered from depression, according to a study by the Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
“More than 11 percent of those with hearing loss also suffered from depression”
Where does the depression stem from? There are many factors that could contribute to depression. When a person has hearing loss, they often have trouble communicating in social situations, which can lead to social isolation. I think most people with hearing loss can relate to that feeling when you just can’t hear a person speaking, but everyone else can. It can make you feel left out or defeated.
Hearing is a sense we often take for granted, so when we are deprived of it, we experience the effects physically and mentally.
By educating people on depression, WHO can encourage others to talk about what they feel and take action to work to overcome negative feelings. It is also a great time to shed light on the links between depression and hearing loss.
There are ways to defeat depression caused or linked to have hearing loss.
3 tips to deal with hearing loss and depression
Visit a Hearing Care Professional
If a close friend or family member is impacted, try suggesting they visit their hearing care professional. You may even offer to go with them. If you have a hearing loss, set up an appointment with your hearing care professional and ask someone you trust to go with you. Sharing the experience of going to the audiologist with a person you trust may help you feel more comfortable and supported when communicating with your hearing care professional about your hearing health. Your hearing care professional can then offer guidance on how to improve your or your family member’s situation.
Explore Different Modes of Communication
When you have hearing loss, there are different options for modes of communication. If you wear hearing technology, there is more that you can do than just wearing it and entering different hearing environments. There is also hearing rehab. Whether you have worn hearing technology for years or are new to it, hearing rehab can help train your brain to use your hearing technology and improve upon problem hearing areas.
Sign language is another mode of communication. Sign language is a beautiful language and there are many opportunities to learn sign language. People use sign language as their primary language, but sign language can also be used in addition to English or another language.
Be a part of the community
The deaf and hard of hearing community is strong and full of support. There are plenty opportunities to be a part of this community whether it is online or a local community. Being a part of a community opens up the door for conversation and bonding that is truly unique for anyone who has hearing loss. Examples of an online community are the HearingLikeMe.com form, the monthly Twitter chat called #hearinglosshour, and any of Phonak’s social media communities – including Instagram and Facebook. I recently have joined both the Hearing Like Me and Twitter communities and have been able to connect with many people like me around the world and learn more about hearing loss to help me navigate through obstacles.
Finding other community events can be as simple as doing a quick Google search. You never know what you may stumble across!
Living with hearing loss doesn’t have to limit you in any way. If you are feeling down or discouraged, remember that you’re not alone. There is plenty of support out there for you.
In honor of World Health Day, join me in taking time today to spread awareness about the connection between hearing loss and depression. I also encourage you to support others as they go through their hearing journey.