Is it Depression or Hearing Loss?
Social isolation, irritability, withdrawal, and lack of engagement are some common signs of depression, but did you know that the same behaviors can be seen in someone with hearing loss too?
The Overlap between Depression and Hearing Loss
Imagine going to an event, meeting new people and not being able to hear what is going on around you or join the conversation. It can be very stressful. Would you avoid watching TV with your spouse or kids if you couldn’t understand the dialogue? How would that impact your home life? With an overlap in some of the symptoms of depression and hearing loss, how do you tell the difference?
Addressing Hearing Concerns
While having depression does not mean someone might be facing hearing loss, they should undergo a medical examination and a hearing test if they have any hearing-related concerns. Someone with hearing loss, especially untreated hearing loss, is more likely to experience depression or depression-like symptoms. When you have difficulty hearing you may avoid meeting friends at restaurants or going to a local book club since it is difficult to follow or participate in the conversations and dialogues around you. After all, if you cannot hear or engage, what is the point of going?
Recognizing the Signs of Hearing Loss
One of Dr. Olson’s tell-tale signs of hearing loss, especially as we draw near to the Fall H , is a family member who volunteers to do the dishes or leaves the dinner table early to watch the football game. Although this may seem typical, the question to ask is, if they are doing these things to avoid conversations. And if they are avoiding conversation in an environment that is supposed to be comfortable, with people who they trust and who care for them, what new experiences are they missing because of their hearing concerns?
Taking the First Step to Address Concerns
If you are seeing any of these signs, a good place to start is to have your hearing tested by an audiologist. Additionally, If you or a loved one have any concerns about depression, you should consult with your physician.