How do I deal with depression from hearing loss?


Depression (technically termed by psychologists and psychiatrists as either "major depression," in more severe cases, or "adjustment disorder with depressed mood," in less severe cases) is a very common response to a chronic health condition such as hearing loss. Stress from dealing with hearing loss may even cause anxiety, disordered sleep, less activity and withdrawal—all of which can lead to depression.

Depression is primarily a disorder of mood, characterized by profound sadness, discouragement and hopelessness. When a chronic health condition such as loss of hearing is the cause, the onset tends to be gradual. Perhaps you’ve experienced how living each day with hearing loss weighs heavier than the last. Some people complain of a loss of energy, general fatigue or insomnia, combined with feelings of worthlessness ("My body has failed me!") and guilt ("What have I done to deserve this?").

Seeking treatment for your hearing loss may produce an initial boost in mood ("Maybe this will be the answer!"). Although among those men and women who suffer with severe hearing loss and have to give up their careers, depression may turn to grief. Periods of denial, bargaining and anger may intermingle with depression until, hopefully, a state of acceptance establishes itself and you move forward to seek effective treatment and gain help with your problem.

Dr. Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine Specialist

The first step to overcoming depression associated with hearing loss is to learn to accept the condition. This is critical because it will help you become more proactive in healing yourself. The best way to overcome depression related to hearing loss is with hearing aids.

Joining support groups can also be very beneficial. Meeting with others who share similar obstacles can help you feel empowered.

Listening and communication enhancement (LACE) was developed by leading audiologists at the University of California at San Francisco to improve listening and communication skills in those who are suffering from hearing loss. LACE is an interactive computerized training program designed to assist those suffering from hearing loss to adapt strategies for compensating when their current level of hearing is inadequate.

Finally, it may be a good idea to consult a medical professional for treatment of depression.

Continue Learning about Living With Depression

Living With Depression

Living With Depression

Living with depression can feel like a challenge, but with the right tools, you can learn to successfully manage your condition. It's important to follow the recommendations of your primary healthcare provider, take any depression ...

medication as prescribed and utilize the social supports around you. It's also important to eat well, get enough sleep, exercise and keep track of your depression symptoms.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.