Hearing Loss and Depression: Good News!
Me: Mrs. Jones, Where Is Your Hearing Aid?
Mrs. Jones: What?
Me: YOUR HEARING AID! WHERE IS IT?
Mrs. Jones: The nurse has it in her closet.
Me: I’LL BE RIGHT BACK!
Research shows that people with untreated hearing loss have a higher risk of depression than those wearing hearing aids. I believe it. Imagine sitting in the hallway and you can’t hear a thing your neighbor is telling you, while everyone around you is laughing at the joke. Imagine the aides and the doctors talking to you and you realize it’s important, but have no idea what they’re saying. So you ask again, still can’t hear, and then fake it, pretending to understand.
If our residents can’t hear, let’s put in an ENT consult and get the hearing aid process started. And if they’ve got hearing aids, let’s take them out of the closet.
The good news is that a recent study showed that within three months of hearing aid use, residents showed a significant improvement in cognitive and psychosocial functioning.