Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Depression Health Center

Font Size

Hearing Loss Tied to Depression in Study

Women, non-seniors more likely to be affected this way, researchers say

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Kathleen Doheny

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Hearing loss is associated with depression among American adults, especially women and those younger than age 70, according to new research.

While other studies previously have found the same link, many of them looked only at older adults or at specific regions or ethnicities, and results have been mixed, the researchers pointed out.

In the new study, as hearing declined, the percentage of depressed adults increased -- from about 5 percent in those who had no hearing problems to more than 11 percent in those who did.

"We found a significant association between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression," said study author Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, a researcher at the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. "The cause-and-effect relationship is unknown," Li said, citing a need for further studies.

The study was published online March 6 in JAMA Otolaryngology--Head & Neck Surgery.

The new findings make sense, according to two experts in the field who reviewed the study conclusions.

"It is not surprising to me that they would be more likely to be depressed," said James Firman, president and CEO of the National Council on Aging. "People with hearing loss, especially those who don't use hearing aids, find it more difficult to communicate with other people, whether in family situations, social gatherings or at work."

Experts who care for those with hearing loss have long noticed the link, said Robert Frisina, director of the Global Center for Hearing & Speech Research at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. "When they come in [to see about their hearing], they mention this," he said.

Even so, Frisina noted, the study is valuable because it adds solid data to the anecdotal information.

For the new study, the researchers looked at data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, including more than 18,000 adults aged 18 and older. The younger people self-reported on their hearing status, while hearing tests were given to those 70 and older. All participants filled out a questionnaire designed to reveal depression.

Today on WebMD

Differences between feeling depressed and feeling blue.
jk rowling
Famous people who've struggled with persistent sadness.
depressed man sitting on hallway floor
Learn the truth about this serious illness.
Sad woman looking out of the window
Tips to stay the treatment course.
unhappy teen boy
Health Check
jk rowling
Pills with smiley faces
Teen girl huddled outside house
Depressed man sitting in hospital hallway
antidepressants slideshow
pill bottle
Winding path