As we get older, we all know that hearing loss and particular mental health challenges can worsen despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have discovered a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be overlooked and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.
Depression is two times as likely in individuals who are dealing with untreated hearing loss. Compared to individuals who use a hearing aid, regular feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in people who have untreated hearing loss.
They were also 39% more likely to feel that those around them get upset for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid social activities they once enjoyed.
There’s an even more troubling statistic you should know about, though you won’t really like it. Don’t turn off that hearing aid!
Our ideas about hearing loss will be totally changed by this study
Age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a harmless condition for centuries. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. The person would simply get by and go on to live the rest of their days healthily, safely, and happily. Apart from hearing impairment, it was thought that loss of hearing had no other adverse health effects.
Now we know better. One of the effects hearing loss can have on your general health is explored in this study.
As a society, we will need to rethink hearing loss based on this well-structured and important study.
How the study was carried out
Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) conducted this research and surveyed more than 2000 people 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid wearers and those with neglected hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to identify the levels of:
More than 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help validate what the participants were reporting. When we talk about hearing loss, this study, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.
How depression affects health and quality of life
Eating disorders such as severe obesity or significant weight loss are more likely in those who cope with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more predominant in those with untreated hearing loss.
They have reduced reaction time, which can result in severe injuries while cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. Those who suffer with depression have even been found to heal more slowly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.
The risk of falls for older people is also increased when an individual has depression.
Depression worsens as hearing loss progresses. The individual often becomes less able to care for themselves as loneliness and solitude set in.
Now, let’s look at a really sad statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
About 75% of people who need hearing aids don’t wear them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its unwanted impacts are completely unnecessary and preventable, yet they’re not taking measures to stop it.
Why so many choose not to wear a hearing aid
When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many people say they own one. They simply don’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
These people would benefit from a hearing aid update. Today’s hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more discreet. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.
A smaller but significant number of people say hearing aids are too expensive. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the link between neglected hearing loss and total health. Hearing aids are, due to this, becoming more available and cost-effective. In addition, people who object to the cost of hearing aids also don’t realize how much-untreated hearing loss can cost them over time. They don’t recognize how hearing loss effects their overall life. In just a few years, your overall health cost can climb by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.
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 situation with your modern hearing aid by taking some time to learn the advanced features. If you’re just turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most out of 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.