Hearing Loss and Depression

:confused: I wonder how many people who are deaf and hard of hearing also suffer from depression. I also wonder how many develop depression during the course of finding a hearing solution.

I remember as a child and young adult, it wasn’t too difficult to find a good audiologist. The hearing aids came in, tuning forks and speech tests were used, and they fit just fine. I didn’t go back until the hearing aids broke, usually several years later.

Now, it’s a different story. I don’t know if some folks got into audiology because of the lucrative prospects of an aging population and now it’s just harder to find a good audiologist - one that wants you to hear, hopefully in less than 3 visits?

Anyone else experiencing depression in their search for hearing aids??

I’m sure that for many money is a deciding factor as to why they go into a certain field and the aging population would also indicate that audiology would have good job security at least for a while. But the fact that it takes three visits or more to adjust an aid properly as compared to one visit when you were younger has more to do with the complexity of the aid then the lack of skills. Years ago it was one aid fits all, with a lot of people taking their aids and throwing them in a drawer, never to be worn. Aids were basically about amplification and that’s it.
Now we know that hearing loss is not simply about amplification but is much more complex and that rarely do we find individuals with exactly the same loss. Consequently the newer aids have the ability to be fine tuned more towards an individuals loss, but the trade off is that it takes time, and requires patience. I don’t know how many people get depressed trying to find the right hearing aid or audiologist. I’m not quite sure if you mean actual depression or actually mean frustration. Many HOH become depressed due to their feeling of isolationism caused by their loss and their inability to function in the hearing world. I know my inability to hear in a noisy environment has pretty much kept me from social functions because I just can’t hear and eventually end up sitting by myself. That can be depressing if I allow it to be.

Excellent post Hask

I agree with everything Hask said. I’ve had a couple of adjustment sessions just to get the restaurant program and music program fine-tuned, something that would not have been an issue 20 years ago. I get unlimited free adjustment sessions and I get my money’s worth. It’s not frustrating at all for me to go back and get an adjustment because I expect to get adjustments and I also have this expectation that adjustments are making my life better.

Coming to terms with being HOH and knowing I’ll be this way or worse the rest of my life was/is depressing but having great choices on hearing aids now and getting them fine-tuned however I want makes it a LOT better. I hardly ever think about it any more.

Hang in there, cmiddlet. There are good hearing aids available and it does take several sessions to get them dialed in but that’s good for you because you know in the end you will hear as well as you can.

The correlation between Hearing Loss and Depression is not a new idea. It’s been studied since the late 90’s and even though many of those studies focused on depression in older populations it’s not localized to just those individuals.

http://www.asha.org/about/news/tipsheets/04DecTipSheet.htm

Thanks for the encouragement. I guess the current economic climate doesn’t help, either, having to take time off work and drive 65 miles each way to get adjustments, etc, plus the one year old son and three year old daughter - it all just takes it’s toll. It is isolating. I have some occupational needs since I wear hazmat gear and respirators in addition to working in a lab with hazmat samples, and the prospect of being able to transfer to a different position where I can live without hearing aids is pretty dim. I haven’t been having very good luck with finding a good audiologist (by good, I mean knowledgable about the product and related software), but I’m not giving up.

Having never experienced depression until now, I can say it is hard to deal with. Not only do I need to worry about getting some good hearing aids and having them adjusted properly, now I’ve got to make sure I take my meds. :o I’m sure it will get better though it will be a very very modest Christmas this year.

This is a very good forum - I’ve learned more about hearing aids than I ever imagined!

cmiddlet,
My wife wanted me to tell you hang in there it will get better! I hope you aren’t taking the kids with you on your 130 mile trip to the Audi. I think it would be very difficult if you are. As my wife said" hang in there" and good luck!

The whole situation requires a great deal of patience. But the travel time makes what you are going through almost unbearable. If you don’t mind my asking, where do you live? A hearing loss at first can seem devastating but with time it is something that you should be able to deal with and accept. Please try to remember that hearing aids will never return your hearing to normal. They don’t work like eye glasses. But they most definitely help. With time you will better understand and adapt to the limits that you hearing loss has created. The depression is another matter altogether and hopefully with time you will be able to overcome that. I have a teenage child who has been dealing with depression issue and no matter how much you try to help there is really nothing one can do to aid another with their problems. Hopefully the meds will help. Try not to dwell on the negative, although I know that can seem overwhelming at times. Tomorrow is another day. Think how fortunate you are to have the children you do have. Just be patient. Most everything has a way of working themselves out.

Hask12,
She said she has worn HA sense age 4 and is now 39. It was in the 1st post.

I know you have a ton on your plate, but find some one to talk to about your depression. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Good luck.

Seb, this person is dealing with a lot of issues. She is now dealing with the difficulties of a digital aid amongst a lot of other things. I think it’s best that we lend our support and not try and correct each other regarding interpretation. At least not now.

I live in rural Clear Creek county and I drive to the University of Colorado/Marion Downs center in Aurora. Three different audiology practices wanted to charge me $5400 or more for a pair of “entry level Phonak” hearing aids, where the University is only charging me $3000.

I returned the Phonak Cassias - I just couldn’t take the Peter Frampton effect and the audis there couldn’t adjust them to get rid of the problems - good music, live or recorded, sounded like static noise and my kids’ voices sounded like robots. Yes, I know the new “spice” chip seems to have this effect on many other users - I wonder if they are all “flat loss” people like me.

I’m patiently waiting for Widex Mind 220s. Hopefully they will be better as I don’t want to eat up all my leave from work doing adjustments and such since I do want to take leave for Christmas this year. As a last resort, I will probably order some Siemens Nitros like I had from thehearingcompany.com and adjust them myself, though I will have teach myself how to do that. I’m wondering if I should have just done that to begin with.

This is an amazing forum, thank you all for your support and the very valuable information. The study on depression and hearing loss was informative - it could be much worse, just think if there was no technology at all to help. It certainly would be a good practice to screen hearing impaired people for depression - that study brought up a lot of causative factors like isolation, alienation, and frustration.

Cmiddlet,
Since you prefer Siemens Nitro’s why don’t you ask the people on the Forum if anyone has a pair that they don’t use any more? You never know, someone may have a pair sitting in a drawer. Good luck.

It is strange how the emotions vary with time and the situation. I am relatively new to using hearing aids, and my initial reaction was euphoria just to hear birds again. I just assumed that the traffic etc had scared them away. I didn’t realize that I couldn’t hear those frequencies.

When I got the aids, I assumed they would be like spectacles, and miraculously fix all the problems. But I found that I still had difficulty, especially in crowded situations. Luckily I found this forum, which helped me understand the limitations of hearing aids, no matter how expensive they were. I also found that you are also at the mercy of the audiologist, in both their knowledge and their enthusiasm to help fine tune them.

So now after a few months, I have realized that my hearing will never be the best, yet those around me expect me to be able to hear like they do. I often get the question, Have you turned on your hearing aids?

I am not sure if it frustration or depression, but it isn’t pleasant not being able to hear as well as the general population. I actually find the people less tolerant as they expect my assisted hearing to be as good as their hearing.

I do find I have withdrawn to my own little world, where I no longer sit with others, preferring to enjoy the peace and quiet. Conversations are hit and miss, it is both embarrassing and frustrating to keep asking, What was that?

Yet, I have it good! If this is the worst thing to happen to me then I am really fortunate. And I have always been an unsociable type, now I have an excuse to be by myself!

Smiley,
I think you need to go back to your Audiologist and tell them the problems you are having and see if they can make adjustments that will improve your hearing. Good luck!

Yep, I am…that is…I think I am. My hearing has been worsening rapidly over the last few years and just last month I lost nearly all hearing in my right ear. I feel like big chunks are being carved out of my life, like my career, my music, my social life, my love life, are all going. I’m thankful I’ve still got some hearing remaining in the left ear, but I know it’s only a matter of time before that goes too and it could disappear suddenly at any time. I’m living and working in Japan and I have no one to talk too. I don’t want to burden my friends and family because they’ll just want to do something when nothing can be done. I’m the only hard of hearing person I know and I’m sure there aren’t many English speaking hard of hearing here, if any. I tried to find some chat rooms for deaf and hard of hearing online, but every one I’ve tried is just some BS. I’ve checked blogs and forums and I haven’t been able to contact anyone directly.

Does anyone here know any good online chat rooms where their are some real hard of hearing people who can share experiences with me?

This forum has been helpful, but I wish I could have something more resembling a conversation. I’m trying to do my job for as long as I can. I’m just 34 and don’t know how I’m going to support myself when I’m no longer able to do it cause of my poor hearing. I want to learn ASL and international sign language and get involved with the deaf community. I know that would help this feeling, but again, I’m in Japan and don’t have access.

Does anyone here know any good online resources for learning ASL?

I often feel a kind of tightness in my chest and I usually cry about once a day. I no longer feel any excitement about my life. I don’t know if that’s depression, but I’m awfully sad.

Just looking quickly online, this site looks interesting if you can afford their courses.

Rash,
Depression is very common to hearing loss but if you feel extremely depressed don’t hesitate to ask for help and get counseling, my sister went in counseling and it helped her significantly. Some Audiologist and hospitals offer programs for people new to HA that offer a group setting for you to talk out your problems with others in the same situation. Ask your Audi and Good luck!

I just found this forum and was drawn to this post. I’ve worn hearing aids for 11 yrs. I wouldn’t say the hearing loss has ever depressed me, but lots of other stuff in life coupled with that has. Perhaps it is the piling on of life events?

I don’t want to sound preachy, but the very month I got my first set of hearing aids, I lost a dear friend to cancer. She was in her early 40’s. Somehow that made me thankful that my problem could be helped. I have always tried to look at it that way, but must also admit to jealousy of others who can just hear - - without help.

You are a good role model for your children by being proactive about your problem. I hope you can focus on your good qualities.

I know what you mean about hearing loss. That fear that the rest of your hearing can go at any time would make anyone sad. It happens to me from time to time.

Have you talked to your medical doctors about what is causing your loss of hearing and if so, what do they say about how likely it is for you to continue to lose your hearing?

Worst case scenarios seldom actually happen, but let’s take the worst case and you lose all your hearing. Many people who are deaf continue to work and support themselves. Also, there are many ways to communicate with others and there are communities of deaf people. Most people who were born deaf do not consider it anything other than normal. So, if you did lose the rest of your hearing (unlikely) you would still be able to support yourself and would still be able to communicate and interact with other people.

Please feel free to PM me (Private Message) anytime and we can chat.