As we get older, we all know that hearing loss and certain mental health challenges can get worse despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong link between the two has been recognized by scientists which should never be ignored. So keep that hearing aid turned on.
Individuals with untreated hearing loss are two times as likely to deal with depression. Nearly 27% more people with neglected hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” in contrast to those who used a hearing aid.
They were also 39% more likely to feel that those around them get upset for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid social experiences they once loved.
Let’s look at this fascinating study and an even more troubling statistic you won’t want to hear but should be aware of. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
This study turns our ideas about hearing loss on their heads
Age-related hearing loss has been considered 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. Apart from hearing impairment, it was thought that loss of hearing had no other negative 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 reconsider hearing loss based on this well-structured and significant study.
How the study was carried out
Dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this study and surveyed more than 2000 individuals 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid users and those with neglected hearing loss. 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 talk about hearing loss, this research, with the added 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 experience eating disorders that can lead to acute obesity or extreme loss of weight. They are more likely to experience insomnia and loss of memory.
They have reduced reaction time, which can result in severe injuries whilst cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. 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 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 individuals who should use hearing aids don’t wear them. That’s right. Many people have the ability to protect themselves from depression by using hearing aids but for some reason abstain from taking the steps.
Why do so many individuals neglect using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many people say they do own one. They think it makes them look old so they simply neglect wearing it. It makes them embarrassed.
A hearing aid update would be advantageous for these individuals. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and let people sync with devices. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.
A smaller but considerable number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the connection between untreated hearing loss and general health. Hearing aids are, because of this, becoming more accessible and affordable. And untreated hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which the majority of individuals don’t think about. They don’t understand how hearing loss effects their overall life. In just a few years, your total health cost can increase by as much as 40% because of neglected hearing loss.
What can be done to minimize hearing-related depression symptoms?
Wear your hearing aid proudly. Help combat the stigma people feel about wearing a hearing aid by showing them how much healthier you feel when you can hear.
Maximize your hearing in every setting with your modern hearing aid by taking a little time to master the advanced features. 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, contact us for a demo.
Consult us as soon as possible about the most effective way to use your hearing aid, especially if you recognize that you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to leave it at home.