Depression, Disability, and Dementia Associated With Self-reported Hearing Problems

Almslati, Arwa Alsalmi M. (2018-04-13)

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition affecting older adults. Approximately 30% of individuals aged 65 and older have some degree of hearing loss, with estimates ranging from 70% to 90% of those aged 85 and older.1 A person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing – hearing thresholds of 25 dB or better in both ears – is said to have hearing loss. Hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. It can affect one ear or both ears, and leads to difficulty in hearing conversational speech or loud sounds.2 Around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, and 34 million of these are children. It is estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss.


Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition affecting older adults. Hearing loss may result from many causes include genetic and other factors. Individuals with hearing loss frequently experience depressive symptoms and social isolation. There is also evidence that older adults with hearing loss have worse cognitive performance. The aim of this report is to discuses two longitudinal studies to know if there is a relation between hearing loss and depression, disability, and dementia. As a result we found an increased risk of disability and dementia in individuals with hearing loss. Early intervention could have good implications, as treatment of HL earlier in the process of cognitive decline may provide more potential for disease reversal. By restoring communication abilities, hearing aids may help improve mood, increase social interactions, and enable participation in cognitively stimulating abilities and consequently could slow cognitive decline. To sum up there is a strong link between hearing status and the risk of disability, dementia, and also depression. Because hearing impairment in older adults is highly prevalent and treatable, these results emphasize the importance of formally assessing the consequences of treating hearing loss in elders in further studies

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