To estimate effects of hearing loss on symptoms of anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and subjective well-being.
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.
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.
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.
HUNT = Nord-Trøndelag Health Study.