Should We Integrate Mental Health Support for those Diagnosed with Hearing Loss?

Research Paper Title

Prevalence of Depression and Anxiety in Adolescents With Hearing Loss.

Background

To develop and implement a universal screening protocol for depression and anxiety in adolescents serviced in an otology and audiology practice and to estimate the prevalence of depression and anxiety in adolescents with hearing loss, while also comparing rates by degree of hearing loss and type of hearing device used.

Methods

A cross-sectional study set in a university tertiary medical centre. One hundred four adolescents 12- to 18-years-old who attended an otology clinic in a large metropolitan hospital in the southeastern United States.

Main outcome measure(s): Depression (PHQ-8), anxiety (GAD-7), degree of hearing loss, type of hearing loss, and type of hearing device utilised.

Results

Twenty-five percent of adolescents scored above the clinical cutoff on at least one of the depression and/or anxiety measures, with 10% scoring in the elevated range on both measures. Specifically, 17% scored above the cutoff on the PHQ-8 and 16% scored in the clinically significant range for the GAD-7. An additional 30 and 21% scored in the at-risk range for depression and anxiety, respectively. Older adolescents were more likely to score within the elevated range for depression (r = 0.232, p = 0.026). Also, adolescents with severe to profound hearing loss had higher rates of depression and anxiety.

Conclusions

Integration of mental health screening is needed in otology and audiology practices both to identify those who require psychological support and to provide appropriate treatment to reduce long-term impact of hearing loss on quality of life and mental health functioning in adolescents.

Reference

Cejas, I., Coto, J., Snachez, C., Holcomb, M. & Lorenzo, N.E. (2020) Prevalence of Depression and Anxiety in Adolescents With Hearing Loss. Otology and Neurotology. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000003006. Online ahead of print.

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