What's That You Say? Age-Related Hearing Loss Linked to Depression

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Older adults with hearing loss are at increased risk for developing depression, according to a study conducted by at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Results of this study also suggest that treating age-related hearing loss could effectively reduce rates of depression in the elderly.

The study involved 5,239 adults over age 50 who were enrolled in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Participants had an audiometric hearing test and were screened for depression. According to the researchers, those with mild hearing loss were about twice as likely as those with normal hearing to have clinical signs of depression, and people with severe hearing loss were more than four times as likely to be depressed.

Hearing loss is common in people over 70 and is often underdiagnosed and undertreated, say the Columbia researchers. In fact, age-related hearing loss — which also ups your risk of cognitive impairment and dementia — is the third most common chronic condition in older adults.

Sourced from: JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery