Moderate Effects of Hearing Loss on Mental Health and Subjective Well-Being: Results From the Nord-Trøndelag Hearing Loss Study

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Abstract

Objective:

To estimate effects of hearing loss on symptoms of anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and subjective well-being.

Methods:

A normal population sample of 50,398 subjects, age 20 to 101 years, in Nord-Trøndelag completed audiometric tests and questionnaires. The association between hearing loss and mental health was assessed with multiple linear regression analyses, controlling for social background variables.

Results:

Effects of hearing loss were mostly significant, but moderate in strength. Effects were stronger among young (20–44 years) and middle-aged (45–64 years) than among older (65+ years) people. Loss of high or middle frequency hearing had almost no impact on mental health measures if low frequency hearing was not also impaired. The strongest observed effect was a change of 0.1 SD in mental health per 10 dB hearing loss.

Conclusions:

Hearing loss is associated with substantially reduced mental health ratings among some young and middle-aged persons, but usually does not affect mental health much among older persons.

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