Studies over the last few years have linked hearing loss to a higher risk of cognitive decline – common sense that if you don’t use your brain as much because of a sensory loss, your brain will decline faster – and to a higher risk of falling, premature death, and a few other conditions.
And now hearing loss is being linked to a new problem, also one that common sense would figure as a consequence of hearing deprivation.
A study of over 5000 people published online in Jhttp://JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery concluded that “elderly individuals” (and, FYI that’s anyone over 50) with age-related hearing loss had a higher risk of depression.
And the greater the hearing loss in these study participants, the greater the risk of depression.
Although the researchers are quick to point out (as always) that in an observational study such as this, it’s impossible to prove cause and effect so, I guess, perhaps people predisposed to depression are more likely to end up with poor hearing.
Somehow, however, I don’t find it as hard to draw a cause-and-effect conclusion from this study.
Seems pretty obvious to me that someone who can’t hear well misses out on lots of life’s little (and some big) joys, which would affect most of us by making us depressed.