Hearing Loss, Depression, and Mental Decline in the Elderly
One of the more common ailments I have noticed as I visit family and friends in geriatric care facilities is hearing loss. Many times, as I begin a discussion with them, the first thing they do is ask me to speak more loudly. Then, they explain that their hearing aid is either in need of repair, a new battery, or some other form of assessment.
For some in the same situation with hearing loss, they complain of "clogged" ears or ear ache.
In all of these scenarios, there is a need for assessment of these seniors by a physician trained in medicine of the ears, nose, and throat (otolaryngology), or in hearing and hearing loss (audiology). Thankfully, most geriatric care facilities provide their residents access to consultations by these specialized physicians. Unfortunately, it often takes longer than it should for these consultations to occur. Imagine being unable to hear for even a month longer than you have to!
Increasingly, medical evidence is suggesting links between hearing loss in the elderly and other ailments or conditions, like mental decline and depression. This makes it more important than ever to make sure that your senior family members and friends receive the swiftest attention they can to help address any hearing challenges. Be sure to be a vocal advocate and request a specialist consultation, if needed!
These are links to articles and other resources that further describe the medical evidence that links hearing loss with depression and mental decline; be sure to show them to your family member's or friend's healthcare team or nursing home administrators!
Hearing article one
Hearing article two
Hearing article three
Hearing article four