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Study Links Hearing Loss and Depression Later in Life

Age-related hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition in mature adults and has been shown to increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. A recent study suggests that people in their later years with age-related hearing loss may also have a higher risk of depression.


Participants in the study included 5,239 people over the age of 50 who were enrolled in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. All of the participants underwent an audiometric hearing test and were screened for depression using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that people with mild hearing loss were approximately twice as likely to have clinically significant symptoms of depression than those with normal hearing. For participants with severe hearing loss, the risk was four times as great. In general, the odds of having depression increased 1.44 times for every 20 dB of hearing loss.


Researchers from Columbia University led the study. It was published on December 6, 2018, in JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery.

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