Is Your Mood Connected to Hearing Loss?

Is your mood connected to hearing loss?

Think of listening to calming music and feeling like your mood is improving just by listening. Or perhaps the sounds of animals in the woods have that effect on you, such as birds, frogs, and crickets. Still, others can sit by the ocean and listen with their eyes closed for what feels like hours. Simply allowing the sound to wash over them as if it were the ocean itself.

Link Between Hearing and Mood

Each of these examples shows a strong link between hearing and mood. However, we all have had harsh and negative sounds bring out our worst mood. Often these sounds have a connection with negative situations. For example, things like traffic or harsh work conditions. But other times the sound alone has a real effect on our mood. Like when we are unable to sleep due to the sound of construction. A recent study seeks to find the link between hearing and an essential chemical supporting positive mood: dopamine.

Profors and Perkel

A study was done at the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University Vancouver in the hearing and communication lab. Researchers were Christine Profors, the associate professor running the project, with the help of David Perkel, professor of biology and otolaryngology at the University of Washington. Together they created a study. It’s the purpose; to trace the relationship between hearing and levels of dopamine in the body.


Dopamine works behind the scenes in a number of ways. In addition, it is driving our desire for reward and motivation. First, the production takes place in several parts of the brain. Second, the hypothalamus releases it as a hormone, and then it serves many functions throughout the body. With such a wide reach, the hormone links to a large number of functions. For example, mood, cognition, sleep, and other bodily functions like circulation, metabolism, and heart rate.

Action Vs. Reaction

There is one question facing researchers. Is actual sound the stimulus for dopamine production or is it the act of hearing itself? Profors and Perkel were curious to find exactly how dopamine affects the auditory system. The study offers the theory that dopamine may alter the way that our brains respond to certain sounds or voices.

Hearing Loss and Mental Health

This research may confirm the mood-altering effects of sound. But we already know a lot about the negative effects of hearing loss on psychological wellbeing. Those with hearing loss often have anxiety about being able to communicate easily in social settings. Some become very frustrated when faced with their struggle to communicate with others. In addition, this frustration may cycle back into more anxiety or even depression. Added to these effects is the tendency for those with hearing loss to become isolated. For instance, those who feel anxious about needing to communicate in social settings may shy away from social settings. In particular, those in the form of big parties and loud dinners but even in everyday activities with people. This isolation can tie back into the feelings of anxiety and depression, as well.

Visit Us at Hearing Group

Hearing loss treatment supports a healthier lifestyle. It can help improve your mood by reconnecting you to the sounds you love. If you have a hearing loss, the use of hearing aids brings great benefits to your overall health and well-being. At Hearing Group, we provide comprehensive hearing tests and hearing aid fittings. If hearing loss is noted, our team will work with you to find the perfect devices to treat your needs.

Jesse Hidalgo, BC-HIS

Jesse is Board Certified in Hearing Instruments and has built over 25 practices during his business career starting in 1998. Using his training in Hearing Instrument Sciences he has helped thousands of patients across those practices hear better.
Published: November 30, 2018

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