Findings from a new study suggest treating age-related hearing loss could help to reduce the risk of late-life depression.
Researchers analysed data from 5,238 individuals over the age of 50 who were enrolled in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos and who each underwent an audiometric hearing test. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, 10-item version (CESD-10).
Almost 33 per cent of included participants (1,751) had clinically significant depressive symptoms.
Compared to individuals with normal hearing (0 dB), the odds of having clinically significant depressive symptoms was 1.81-times (95% CI 1.48-2.22) higher in individuals with mild hearing loss (median threshold 32.5 dB). This rose to 2.38 (95% CI, 1.77-3.20) in individuals with moderate hearing loss (median threshold 47.5 dB), and 4.30 (95% CI 2.61-7.09) in individuals with severe hearing loss (median threshold 80 dB).
The odds of having depressive symptoms increased 1.44-times (95% CI 1.27-1.63) for every 20 dB of hearing loss.
“Future studies should examine longitudinal relationships and whether treating hearing loss reduces the risk of late-life depression,” the authors said.
The findings are published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.