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 observed by scientists which should never be overlooked. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.
Depression is twice as likely in individuals who have neglected hearing loss. About 27% more individuals with untreated hearing loss reported “often feeling sad” compared to people who used a hearing aid.
They were also 24% more likely to stop doing things they used to love and 39% more likely to feel as if people are angry with them for no reason.
There’s an even sadder statistic you should be aware of, though you won’t really like it. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
Our beliefs about hearing loss will be completely altered by this study
Age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a harmless affliction for centuries. It was thought that the other senses would merely compensate. People would simply go on with their lives attempting to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t thought to have any health affects besides the hearing impairment.
Now we know better. One of the impacts hearing loss can have on your overall health is explored in this study.
This substantial and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How the research was carried out
Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this research and surveyed over 2000 individuals 50 and older. People with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to determine the levels of the following:
More than 2000 family members of the participants were also included in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were reporting. With this additional verification, this research becomes even more pertinent when we talk about the effects of hearing loss.
How health and quality of life are impacted by depression
According to the American Psychological Association, those who struggle with depression are more likely to develop eating disorders that can result in severe obesity or significant weight loss. Memory loss and insomnia are also more common in those with neglected hearing loss.
While cooking, driving, and other activities, their diminished reaction time can lead to severe injury. Healing is slower in people who cope with depression and that can result in longer hospital stays.
Depression can increase fall risk in older adults.
Depression worsens as hearing loss advances. The individual 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
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 negative impacts are entirely unnecessary and avoidable, yet they’re not taking steps to prevent it.
Why so many decide not to wear 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. They’re embarrassed.
These individuals would benefit from a hearing aid update. Modern 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.
Price is also a problem for a smaller yet substantial number of individuals. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the connection between neglected hearing loss and general health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t take into consideration. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. Unaddressed hearing loss can increase your overall healthcare costs by as much as 40% in only a few years.
How can hearing associated depression symptoms be minimized?
Wear your hearing aid proudly. Show people how much better you can feel when you can hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help get rid of the stigma.
Take some time to master the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to optimize your hearing experience in every situation. You’re not getting the most from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid in a while, meet with us for a demo.
If you feel you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to not use it, speak with us today about how to use your hearing aid more effectively.