As we age, we all know that hearing loss and specific mental health concerns can get worse despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong link between the two has been discovered by scientists which should never be dismissed. So keep that hearing aid turned on.
People with neglected hearing loss are two times as likely to cope with depression. About 27% more people with untreated hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” in contrast 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 mad at them for no reason.
Let’s look at this interesting study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should be aware of. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss on their heads
Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless condition for centuries. It was thought that the other senses would merely compensate. People would simply go on with their lives trying to live safely, healthily, and happily. Beyond hearing impairment, it was believed that loss of hearing had no other negative health effects.
Of course we now know that’s not the case. This study demonstrates just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s general health.
This important and well-structured study forces us to rethink hearing loss as a society.
How the research was carried out
Over 2000 people 50 or older were surveyed in this study conducted 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. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to determine the levels of the following:
Over 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help validate what the participants were self-reporting. When we talk about hearing loss, this study, with the added verification, becomes even more relevant.
How depression affects health and quality of life
Eating disorders such as severe obesity or significant weight loss are more likely in people who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. They are more likely to experience insomnia and memory loss.
They have reduced reaction time, which can lead to severe injuries while cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. Those who suffer with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.
Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.
Depression progresses as hearing loss progresses. The person often becomes more and more isolated, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.
Now, let’s take a look at a really sad statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
Only around 25% of people who would benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. Yup! Many individuals have the means to shield themselves from depression by using hearing aids but for some reason avoid taking the steps.
Why so many decide not to use a hearing aid
Many individuals who don’t use a hearing aid actually do own one. They just don’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” It makes them embarrassed.
A hearing aid upgrade would be worthwhile for these people. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more discreet and let people sync with devices. This makes them seem more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.
A smaller but significant number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the connection between untreated hearing loss and overall health. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and obtainable. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most people don’t take into account. They don’t recognize how hearing loss impacts their overall life. In only a few years, your overall health cost can climb by as much as 40% because of neglected hearing loss.
How can hearing related depression symptoms be minimized?
Wear your hearing aid with pride. Show people how much healthier you can feel when you’re able to hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help remove the stigma.
Optimize your hearing in every setting with your modern hearing aid by taking a little time to learn the advanced features. You’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid in a while, contact us for a demo.
If you feel you aren’t 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 successfully.