The relationship between hearing loss in older adults and depression over 12 years: Findings from the Three-City prospective cohort study

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Dec;33(12):1654-1661. doi: 10.1002/gps.4968. Epub 2018 Sep 13.


Objective: The present study aims to examine the longitudinal relationship between hearing loss (HL) with depression in older adults over 12 years of follow-up.

Method: Eight thousand three hundred forty-four French community-dwelling adults aged 65 and above participated in the Three-City prospective population-based study. Baseline relationships between self-reported mild and severe HL with depression-assessed by both the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and by the Centre for Epidemiology Studies Depression scale-were explored using logistic regression analyses. Logistic mixed models assessed whether baseline HL was associated with incident depression diagnosis or symptom onset over 12 years in those who were depression-free at baseline.

Results: At baseline, mild and severe HL were associated with depression symptoms as assessed by the CESD (OR = 1.29, 95% CIs 1.14-1.47; OR = 1.51, 95% CIs 1.22-1.87; respectively), although only mild HL was significantly related to major depression diagnosis (OR = 1.51, 95% CIs 1.07-2.12). Over 12 years, mild and severe HL were associated with incident depression as assessed by the CESD in those without depression at baseline (OR = 1.36, 95% CIs 1.15-1.61; OR = 1.69, 95% CIs 1.15-2.30; respectively), but was not associated with a major depression diagnosis.

Conclusions: Both mild and severe thresholds of HL are associated with depression symptoms over time, but not with incident diagnosis of major depression. Improved and ongoing detection of subthreshold depression amongst older adults with HL may improve quality of life for this population.

Keywords: healthy ageing; hearing impairment; mental well-being; sensory loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Hearing Loss / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life