Researchers at the University of Manchester took a longitudinal analysis of nearly 75,000 participants between the ages of 50 – 89. This was a part of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) that took place between 2002 – 2017. In this study, they have discovered that hearing loss and depression are interconnected in the elderly. This is especially true for those seniors who are a part of the lower socioeconomic groups. These people are twice as likely to become depressed as those who are in the highest socioeconomic groups.
This landmark study was published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. It has helped to lay to rest this debate which has been going on for 40 years of research. Through this research, it’s also been discovered that hearing aids are also quite beneficial in relieving the symptoms of depression in these lower socioeconomic groups. Of course, to make such a difference it was important for seniors to wear their hearing aids most of the time instead of merely wearing them just some of the time.
The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Socioeconomics
One of the most interesting findings in this study was that hearing loss is affected by a person’s socioeconomic class. Dr. Dalia Tsimpida was the lead postdoctoral researcher in this study and a Chartered Psychologist who’s based in the University of Manchester’s Division of Medical Education. He says that the researchers discovered that when a person has issues with hearing loss they’re more likely to have issues with depression. In fact, there was shown to be a substantial risk of this occurring in older adults who are also experiencing socioeconomic inequalities.
The Study’s Basis and Outcome
Since researchers used dynamic cross-lagged path models (CLPMs) to estimate the relationship here, they believe that their outcome is reasonable. Dr. Tsimpida would even go so far here as to argue that detecting hearing loss early on during routine assessments will promote better hearing health while also preventing (or at the very least delaying) the onset of depression. Therefore he believes that this study proves that this is an effective strategy to use.
Co-author Dr. Maria Panagioti states that while this research did prove that such an association exists, this was the first time that a study was conducted in which such an association was considered. Therefore she believes that additional research is needed to take a deeper look at the role that socioeconomic position plays here. These studies should take into consideration the causal, temporal, and graded relationship between the loss of hearing and how depression occurs over time. Such research should also ensure that a person’s socioeconomic status was also taken into consideration.
This study has important and novel clinical implications. Not only does it help us have a better understanding of the interrelatedness of hearing loss and depression, but it should also encourage more people to seek out the help they need. If you’re one of these people, you should make an appointment with Countryside Hearing Aids Services in Clearwater & Pinellas County, FL to talk about getting hearing aids today.
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