As we age, we all know that hearing loss and specific mental health concerns can get worse in spite of a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have discovered a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be ignored and it will help if you don’t turn that hearing aid off.
Depression is twice as likely in people who are dealing with untreated hearing loss. Compared to people who use a hearing aid, frequent feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in those who have untreated hearing loss.
They were also 24% more likely to quit doing things they once loved and 39% more likely to feel as if people are mad at them for no reason.
Let’s look at this fascinating study and an even more troubling 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 upside down
Age-related hearing loss has been regarded as 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 life healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t believed to have any health affects beyond the hearing impairment.
Of course we now know that isn’t the situation. This study demonstrates just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s overall health.
As a society, we will need to reconsider hearing loss based on this well-structured and compelling study.
How was this study done?
Dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) conducted this research and surveyed more than 2000 people 50 and older. People with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to determine the levels of:
Over 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. What they reported helped to give the participant’s statements validity. With this added verification, this research becomes even more significant when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.
How depression impacts health and quality of life
Eating disorders like severe obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in those who cope with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. They are more likely to experience insomnia and loss of memory.
While driving, cooking, and other activities, their diminished reaction time can result in severe injury. Those with depression have even been found to heal more slowly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.
The risk of falling for older people is also increased when an individual suffers from depression.
As the hearing loss advances, 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.
Usage rates of hearing aids
Around 75% of people who need hearing aids don’t wear them. That’s right. Many people have the ability to shield themselves from depression by using hearing aids but for some reason avoid taking the steps.
Why do so many people avoid using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many people say they own one. They simply won’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
A hearing aid update would be advantageous for these people. Present day hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more subtle. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.
A smaller but considerable number of people say they can’t afford one. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the connection between untreated hearing loss and total health. Hearing aids are, because of this, becoming more accessible and affordable. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t take into account. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. Unaddressed hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 40% in only a few years.
How can hearing related depression symptoms be reduced?
Wear your hearing aid proudly. Show people how much healthier you can feel when you can hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help remove the stigma.
Take a little time to learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to maximize your hearing experience in every situation. You’re not getting the most from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. Consult us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.
If you feel you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to leave it off, talk to us today about how to make use of your hearing aid more effectively.