Does hearing loss affect your mental health?

How do you define your own mental health, and what makes you feel mentally well? Covid 19 has certainly made us pause to consider how the loss of personal freedom, massive challenges to economic security, and fear of physical illness, can impact our sense of peace. 

A research study by Henssler et al. (2021) in the European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, identifies that people who are isolated are affected by depression, anxiety, stress-related disorders, and anger. These effects are unsurprisingly heightened during this very hard time on earth. Their study reflects that we human beings are happiest as truly gregarious, conscious, and self-determining creatures.

An article in The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) reflects that people with hearing loss may already feel isolated and lonely, because of the impact of hearing loss on communication, relationships, and the expending of energy when socialising. Depression and deteriorated thinking are also potential mental health outcomes of a hearing problem. Living with hearing loss therefore has an undeniable detrimental impact on one’s mental health, and it is with deep empathy that we consider people with hearing loss during the pandemic- where masks have complicated the challenges to clear communication. It has given people with normal hearing a small inkling of what many must deal with, every day.

Positively, research published in the International Journal of Audiology (Nuesse et al., 2021) reports that addressing hearing loss with supportive audiology professionals who fit hearing aids, leads to significant improvements in accessibility to conversation (reduced effort to hear- especially in noisy environments). Other studies have identified that for people with hearing loss, hearing aids, emotional support, and aural rehabilitation to stimulate brain activity have a significantly positive effect on cognitive function; may mitigate depression; and can improve psychosocial well-being (Cosh et al., 2019).

If you have hearing loss and feel isolated, depressed, or lonely, especially during the Covid pandemic, reach out to your closest professional audiologist for support. Taking one small step for your ears, could be a giant step for your mental health and quality of life.

– By Natalie Buttress


  1. Cosh, S., Helmer, C., Delcourt, C., Robins, T. G., & Tully, P. J. (2019). Depression in elderly patients with hearing loss: current perspectives. Clinical interventions in aging, 14, 1471–1480.
  2. Henssler, J., Stock, F., van Bohemen, J. et al. Mental health effects of infection containment strategies: quarantine and isolation—a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 271, 223–234 (2021).
  3. Kaland, M. and Salvatore, K. (2002). The Psychology of Hearing Loss. The ASHA Leader. 7 (5).
  4. Nuesse, T., Schlueter, A., Lemke, U., & Holube, I. (2021) Self-reported hearing handicap in adults aged 55 to 81 years is modulated by hearing abilities, frailty, mental health, and willingness to use hearing aids, International Journal of Audiology, 60:sup2, 71-79, DOI: 10.1080/14992027.2020.1858237