Is hearing loss associated with depression in older adults?

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

For many older adults (≥ 60 years old), aging is associated with an increased risk of hearing loss1 and may also be associated with an increased risk of depression.2 Over the past 40 years, many studies have examined hearing loss and depression in older adults, with some reporting a positive association and others reporting no association. Several reasons contribute to these conflicting findings. First, the association between hearing loss and depression has been most frequently reported in epidemiological studies (cross-sectional and cohort studies) that often introduce bias to the study design, invariably affecting outcome results and reducing confidence in study findings.3 Second, some studies measure hearing loss using pure tone audiometry,4 whereas others measure hearing loss with self-reported outcomes,5 which may produce differing estimates of hearing loss and therefore biased results. Third, many studies do not control for the influence of cognitive impairment/decline on the association between hearing loss and depression in older adults despite substantial evidence showing the positive association between hearing loss and cognitive decline as people age.6 Fourth, most studies do not accurately report or control for the influence of hearing aid use in older adults with hearing loss and depression. As such, the influence of hearing aid use on the relationship between hearing loss and depression is unclear. Lastly, many studies investigating the potential association between hearing loss and depression have not reported results adjusted by participant health/psychosocial characteristics, which undermines the validity of their findings.7,8 With these caveats in mind, it was therefore important to conduct an extensive systematic review and meta-analysis of all published studies examining hearing loss and depression in older adults to synthesize the available evidence and provide a rigorous estimate of the association between hearing loss and depression in older adults.9
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-11
Number of pages4
JournalHearing Journal
Volume72
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

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