Hard of hearing Israelis 3.5 as likely to suffer from depression

Roughly one in ten Israelis reports loss of hearing capabilities. Due to stigmas about hearing aid technology an average Israeli will need three years to seek help.

Director of Empowering Deaf Society Mangai Sutharsan uses sign language to communicate whilst wearing a partially transparent mask, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Ilford, London, Britain, July 29, 2020. (photo credit: HANNAH MCKAY/ REUTERS)
Director of Empowering Deaf Society Mangai Sutharsan uses sign language to communicate whilst wearing a partially transparent mask, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Ilford, London, Britain, July 29, 2020.
(photo credit: HANNAH MCKAY/ REUTERS)
Israelis who are hard of hearing are 3.5 times more likely to suffer from depression, a study by the 1 of 10 foundation reported on Wednesday in honor of World Hearing Day. 
One in 10 Israelis suffers from hearing loss and the shame around this condition prevents many from seeking the help they need. Around 30% of Israelis over the age of 64 said they have hearing aids but opt not to use them due to how shamed they feel by society.
Around 67% of those who are hard of hearing said they were unaware of the advanced solutions now available in the market. Outdated conceptions of hearing aids being bulky and large means the average person will often wait years before purchasing one. 
“These are people who could easily overcome their limitation and live a regular life,” 1 of 10 activist Yehonatan Gal said. However, there is instead a “cycle of shame and depression,” which only leads to their medical and mental condition to decline, he warned. 
Around 63% of those who are hard of hearing reportedly do not trust people easily. In addition, 95% of those who suffer hearing loss could benefit from hearing aids, but only 22% use them, a 2014 report found. 
 
The Association for the Deaf in Israel offers volunteer-provided services in which a deaf person could use a video call to the center and express his wish to, for example, order pizza. In this circumstance a volunteer would then call for the pizza parlor for the person on the video call. 
The center also offers services for anyone interested in learning sign language.