Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) and depression are two leading causes of disability in older adults, and studies have suggested they may be related. The past February, an interesting study published in the journal Elsevier by a research team in Australia makes an even stronger connection. The study involved 151 male and female participants from 40 to 88 years of age.
Participants’ hearing ability was tested at various sound frequencies, including the speech frequencies (0.5-4 kilohertz, or kHz) as well as higher frequencies (6-8 kHz), and individuals were grouped according to their degree of hearing loss. Next, participants took a test called the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS) to determine their current mental health status and symptoms. These data were analyzed and indeed showed that there is a close relationship between hearing ability and DASS score. The findings suggest that ARHL may be a cause for depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. Before now, ARHL has only been associated with these symptoms, however this study showed that as hearing impairment increases, so does the severity of mental health symptoms.
Although this may sound like bad news, it’s actually exciting. What this means is that if we can reduce the severity of a person’s hearing loss, or at least slow its progress, maybe we can also have a positive impact on that person’s mental well-being. If hearing researchers can solve the root of the problem, perhaps we can help in more ways than one.
Gateway Biotechnology, Inc. is developing options for people with hearing loss from noise, aging, and other causes. Gateway will soon offer EarGuard, an affordable series of nutraceuticals that need no prescription. For more information about this product, visit Gateway’s website and follow this blog for updates.