As we age, we all know that hearing loss and specific mental health concerns can get worse despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong connection between the two has been discovered by scientists which should never be ignored. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.
Depression is two times as likely in people who are dealing with untreated hearing loss. Nearly 27% more people with neglected hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” in contrast to people who used a hearing aid.
They were also 24% more likely to stop doing things they once loved and 39% more likely to feel like people are mad at them for no reason.
Let’s look at this interesting study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should be aware of. Keep that hearing aid turned on!
Our beliefs about hearing loss will be totally transformed by this study
Age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a harmless affliction for centuries. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. The person would just get by and go on to live the rest of their days healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t thought to have any health impact besides the hearing impairment.
Now we know better. This study demonstrates just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s general health.
This substantial and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How the research was conducted
Dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) conducted this study and surveyed over 2000 individuals 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid wearers and those with untreated hearing loss. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to establish the levels of the following:
The study took a ground-breaking step by including more than 2000 family members of the research participants. They did this to help validate what the participants were reporting. With this added verification, this research becomes even more relevant when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.
How depression affects health and quality of life
Eating disorders like severe obesity or significant weight loss are more likely in those who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and loss of memory.
While driving, cooking, and other activities, their diminished reaction time can result in severe injury. Healing is slower in individuals who cope with depression and that can result in longer hospital stays.
Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.
As the hearing loss progresses, depression gets worse. The individual often becomes more and more isolated, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
Around 75% of people who should use hearing aids don’t use them. Yup! For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its adverse impacts are totally unnecessary and preventable, yet they’re not taking steps to prevent it.
Why so many decide not to use a hearing aid
Many individuals who don’t wear a hearing aid actually do own one. They think it makes them look old so they simply neglect using it. They’re embarrassed.
A hearing aid update would be worthwhile for these people. Modern hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart technology and less like a hearing aid.
A smaller but significant number of people say hearing aids are too expensive. The connection between neglected hearing loss and overall health hazards is now beginning to be recognized by states and insurance companies. Hearing aids are, due to this, becoming more available and cost-effective. Additionally, individuals who object to the cost of hearing aids also don’t realize how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them in the long run. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. Untreated hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 4o percent in only a few years.
How can hearing associated depression symptoms be decreased?
Wear your hearing aid with pride. Help fight the stigma people feel about using a hearing aid by showing them how much healthier you feel when you can hear.
Optimize your hearing in every setting with your modern hearing aid by taking a little time to learn the advanced features. If you’re just turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most from your hearing aid. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid for a while, contact us for a demo.
Consult us as soon as possible about the most effective way to utilize your hearing aid, particularly if you recognize that you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to put it in a drawer.