A campaign encouraging the British public to overcome the winter blues, to raise people’s spirits as well as vital funds for Mental Health Foundation for the year’s most depressing day – ‘Blue Monday’ on 18 January 2021.
The third Monday of January has been awarded the gloomy title due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills. Supposedly the date was calculated by using many factors, including: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.
Perhaps the true meaning of Blue Monday is that we all have mental health and that there are steps that we can take on every day of the year to try and protect it. We should not just be thinking about our mental health on 18th January this year, but on every day of the year. Depression and other mental health problems last for more than a day. And mental health problems can affect people in different ways on any day of the year.
Deafness and depression
It makes intuitive sense that a connection exists between hearing loss and depression: When people struggle to hear, communication becomes challenging and loneliness, sorrow and social isolation can quickly follow.
Following the shifts in conversations can be particularly challenging. That’s because of the fluid nature of talking with friends and family—one moment, the conversation is focused on football, and a minute later, it’s shifted to a story about a coworker or plans for the upcoming weekend.
Tinnitus and mental health
Exposure to noise often results in tinnitus instead of or in addition to hearing loss, which can also contribute to a range of psychological disorders.
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) can, without therapy, be debilitating; it can affect job performance, cause insomnia, and provoke fear, anxiety, and anger. This can lead to depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and can exasperate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Compromised hearing is an invisible disability, often unnoticed or ignored even by those affected. However, hearing loss and tinnitus are widespread and can have serious psychological repercussions. Hearing loss caused by noise exposure is completely preventable by taking simple measures like turning down the volume on your earbuds and using hearing protective devices in loud situations. Regular hearing screenings can also help detect hearing issues early on.
How you can help
As audiologists, practice nurses, hearing care assistants and any other professional with a passion to help those suffering from hearing loss, we see first hand how crippling the effects deafness has against one's mental health. We are asking you to donate where possible, and to raise awareness of the following organisations.
Please feel free to share this blogpost via your own platforms, and together we'll #beatbluemonday.