This paper brings together key pieces of research investigating the links between hearing loss, tinnitus and mental health. The research identifies an increased risk of some mental health problems for people with hearing loss. For example, older people with hearing loss are 2.5 times more likely to develop depression than those without hearing loss.
The research highlights a range of factors which influence mental health outcomes, including:
- Losing hearing post-lingually (in particular, people who have been deafened)
- Poor social and support networks
- Hearing loss not being effectively managed
The report also identifies the significant barriers to people with hearing loss accessing mental health services – such as staff who are not deaf aware, and a lack of communication support.
The report makes recommendations to reduce the risk of mental health problems amongst people with hearing loss:
- Supporting individuals to accept and manage their hearing loss
- An effective, holistic rehabilitation process for people with hearing loss
- Ensuring mental health services are accessible to people with all levels of hearing loss, regardless of their first language
- Encouraging social and support networks and preventing isolation for people with acquired hearing loss.