As we age, we all know that hearing loss and certain mental health concerns can get worse in spite of a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong connection between the two has been recognized by scientists which should never be ignored. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.
Individuals with untreated hearing loss are two times as likely to cope with depression. Nearly 27% more individuals with untreated hearing loss reported “often feeling sad” compared to those who used a hearing aid.
They were also 24% more likely to stop doing things they once loved and 39% more likely to feel as if people are angry with them for no reason.
Let’s look at this fascinating study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should know about. Don’t turn off that hearing aid!
This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss on their heads
Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless affliction for centuries. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. The person would just get by and go on to live the rest of their days healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t believed to have any health impact besides the hearing impairment.
Of course we now know that isn’t the case. One of the impacts hearing loss can have on your overall health is investigated in this study.
This significant and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How was this research done?
Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this study carried out by dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). People with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to ascertain the levels of:
Over 2000 family members of the participants were also included in this ground-breaking study. What they documented helped to give the participant’s statements validity. When we discuss hearing loss, this study, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.
How depression affects health and quality of life
According to the American Psychological Association, those who struggle with depression are more likely to develop eating disorders that can result in acute obesity or extreme loss of weight. Memory loss and insomnia are also more common in those with untreated hearing loss.
While cooking, driving, and other activities, their diminished reaction time can result in severe injury. Those who suffer with depression have even been found to heal more slowly, leading to complications and lengthy hospital stays.
Depression can increase fall risk in older adults.
As the hearing loss progresses, so does the depression. The person becomes less capable of caring for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.
Now, let’s look at a really sad statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
Only around 25% of individuals who would benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its negative effects are totally unnecessary and avoidable, yet they’re not taking steps to prevent it.
Why do so many people neglect using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many people say they own one. They just don’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
A hearing aid upgrade would be worthwhile for these individuals. Present day hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more discreet. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.
Price is also a problem for a smaller but substantial number of people. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the link between untreated hearing loss and total health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and obtainable. Additionally, individuals who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t recognize how much-untreated hearing loss can cost them in the long run. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. Untreated hearing loss can increase your overall healthcare costs by as much as 4o percent in only a few years.
What can you do to lessen hearing-related depression symptoms?
Wear your hearing aid with pride. Show people how much better you can feel when you can hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help remove the stigma.
Take some time to master the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to optimize your hearing experience in every situation. If you’re only 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 in a while, meet with us for a demo.
If you feel like you aren’t getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to not use it, talk to us today about how to make use of your hearing aid more effectively.