As we age, we all know that hearing loss and specific mental health challenges can progress in spite of a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong link between the two has been recognized by scientists which should never be dismissed. So keep that hearing aid turned on.
Depression is two times as likely in individuals who are dealing with untreated hearing loss. About 27% more individuals with untreated hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” compared to people who used a hearing aid.
They were also 39% more likely to feel that those around them get irritated for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid social experiences they once enjoyed.
Let’s look at this fascinating study and an even more troubling statistic you won’t want to hear but should know about. Keep that hearing aid turned on!
This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss upside down
Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless condition 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. Beyond hearing impairment, it was thought that loss of hearing had no other negative health effects.
Of course we now know that isn’t the situation. One of the impacts hearing loss can have on your general health is explored in this study.
This substantial and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How was this study done?
Dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this study and surveyed more than 2000 people 50 and older. The participants included a mix of hearing aid users and those with untreated hearing loss. Clinically relevant questions were asked to identify 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 corroborate what the participants were self-reporting. With this additional verification, this study becomes even more pertinent when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.
How health and quality of life are affected by depression
Eating disorders like severe obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in people who cope with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more common in those with neglected hearing loss.
While driving, cooking, and other activities, their reduced reaction time can result in severe injury. Those who suffer with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.
The danger of falls 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 less able to care for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
Only about 25% of individuals who would benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its unwanted impacts are totally unnecessary and avoidable, yet they are not taking measures to stop it.
Why do so many individuals neglect using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many individuals say they do own one. They just won’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
A hearing aid update would be beneficial for these individuals. Present day hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more subtle. This makes them seem more like an extension of your smart technology and less like a hearing aid.
A smaller but significant number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. The link between disregarded hearing loss and general health risks is now beginning to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and obtainable. Additionally, people who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t realize how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them over time. They don’t understand how hearing loss effects their overall life. In only a few years, your overall health cost can climb by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.
How can hearing related depression symptoms be reduced?
Wear your hearing aid with pride. Help combat the stigma people feel about using a hearing aid by showing them how much healthier you feel when you can hear.
Optimize your hearing in every situation with your modern hearing aid by taking some time to master the advanced features. 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 try out these upgraded hearing aids.
Consult us as soon as possible 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 leave it at home.