Age-related hearing loss is often under-treated among all elderly. However, it should be considered top priority as it could eventually lead to late-life depression. Published in the journal, JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, the study states that age-related hearing loss can trigger depression.
"Most people over age 70 have at least mild hearing loss, yet relatively few are diagnosed, much less treated, for this condition," said Justin S Golub, assistant professor at Columbia University in the US. "Hearing loss is easy to diagnose and treat, and treatment may be even more important if it can help ease or prevent depression," said Golub, lead author of the study.
Age-related hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition in older adults. Other than depression, the age-related issue can also lead to cognitive impairment and dementia. The study does not prove that hearing loss causes depressive symptoms. "But it's understandable how the hearing loss could contribute to depressive symptoms. People with hearing loss have trouble communicating and tend to become more socially isolated, and social isolation can lead to depression," said Golub. And while the study has focused on Hispanics, the results could be applied to anyone with age-related hearing loss, according to the researchers.