Communications issues for seniors may cause depression

Age-related hearing problems could begin a chain of conditions that home care workers and others who work with seniors may wish to monitor according to new research.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center took "a more global view of communication function" by following older Americans and noting the incidence of both hearing loss and hoarseness, or dysphoria.

While the conditions had separately been linked to social problems such as anxiety and isolation, the scientists found that about 10 percent of participants had both disorders and also reported higher scores for depression.

"It's important to realize these disabilities often occur concurrently," says lead author Dr Seth Cohen.

Communications issues for seniors may cause depression "And when they do, they can increase the likelihood of depression and social isolation."

He added that it was possible that the two conditions are linked because of people straining their voices to be heard by themselves or others who may have hearing difficulties.

One potential remedy may be cochlear implants, which are like hearing aids but surgically implanted.

German researchers published a study in Otolaryngology that found that the implants allowed patients to achieve more social interaction along with improved hearing function.

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