On the relationship between functional hearing and depression

Gitte Keidser*, Mark Seeto, Mary Rudner, Staffan Hygge, Jerker Rönnberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To establish the effect of self-rated and measured functional hearing on depression, taking age and gender into account. Additionally, the study investigates if hearing-aid usage mitigates the effect, and if other physical health problems and social engagement confound it. Design: Cross-sectional data from the UK Biobank resource, including subjective and behavioural measures of functional hearing and multifactorial measures of depressive episodes and symptoms, were accessed and analysed using multi-regression analyses. Study sample: Over 100 000 community-dwelling, 39-70 year-old volunteers. Results: Irrespective of measurement method, poor functional hearing was significantly (p < 0.001) associated with higher levels of depressive episodes (≤ 0.16 factor scores) and depressive symptoms (≤ 0.30 factor scores) when controlling for age and gender. Associations were stronger for subjective reports, for depressive symptoms, and the younger participants. Females generally reported higher levels of depression. Hearing-aid usage did not show a mitigating effect on the associations. Other physical health problems particularly partially confounded the effects. Conclusion: Data support an association between functional hearing and depression that is stronger in the younger participants (40-49 years old) and for milder depression. The association was not alleviated by hearing-aid usage, but was partially confounded by other physical health problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-664
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


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