As we get older, we all recognize that hearing loss and specific mental health challenges can get worse despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have found a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be ignored and it will help if you don’t turn that hearing aid off.
Individuals with neglected hearing loss are two times as likely to suffer from depression. About 27% more people with neglected hearing loss reported “often feeling sad” compared to people who used a hearing aid.
They were also 39% more likely to feel that the people around them get upset for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social activities they once loved.
Let’s look at this fascinating study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should know about. Keep that hearing aid turned on!
Our ideas about hearing loss will be totally transformed by this study
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 simply get by and go on to live the rest of their life healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss was not thought to have any health impact beyond the hearing impairment.
Now we know better. One of the effects hearing loss can have on your general health is explored in this study.
This significant and well-structured study forces us to rethink hearing loss as a society.
How the research was carried out
Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this study carried out by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). The participants included a mix of hearing aid users and those with untreated hearing loss. Clinically relevant questions were asked to establish the levels of the following:
The study took a ground-breaking step by including more than 2000 family members of the research participants. They did this to help validate what the participants were reporting. When we discuss hearing loss, this research, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.
How health and quality of life are affected by depression
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 weight loss. They are more likely to experience insomnia and loss of memory.
They have reduced reaction time, which can lead to significant injuries whilst cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. Healing is slower in individuals who suffer from depression and that can result in longer hospital stays.
The risk of falls for older people is also increased when an individual has depression.
As the hearing loss progresses, depression gets worse. The person often becomes less capable of caring for themselves as loneliness and solitude set in.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
About 75% of individuals who need hearing aids don’t wear them. Yup! Many people have the ability to shield themselves from depression by using hearing aids but for some reason abstain from taking the steps.
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 just don’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
These individuals would benefit from a hearing aid update. Modern hearing aids work better, and they are also more discreet and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them feel less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart tech.
A smaller but significant number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. The link between disregarded hearing loss and total health hazards is now starting to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. In addition, people who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t recognize how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them over time. They’re not aware 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 40% in just a few years.
How can hearing associated depression symptoms be reduced?
Be proud to wear your hearing aid. Help fight the stigma people feel about using a hearing aid by showing them how much better you feel when you can hear.
Take a little time to learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to optimize your hearing experience in every setting. If you’re only turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most from your hearing aid. Get a consultation with us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.
Consult us right away about the most effective way to utilize your hearing aid, especially if you recognize that you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to put it in a drawer.