As we age, we all know that hearing loss and certain mental health challenges 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 switch that hearing aid off.
Individuals with untreated hearing loss are two times as likely to deal with depression. Nearly 27% more people with untreated hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” in contrast to people who used a hearing aid.
They were also 39% more likely to think those around them get irritated for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social experiences they once loved.
There’s an even more troubling statistic you should know about, though you won’t like it very much. Don’t turn off that hearing aid!
Our beliefs about hearing loss will be completely changed by this study
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 believed that loss of hearing had no other negative health effects.
Now we know better. This study demonstrates just one of the greater effects that hearing loss has on a person’s overall health.
As a society, we will need to rethink hearing loss based on this well-structured and compelling study.
How was this research done?
Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this study carried out by dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). Individuals with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to ascertain the levels of:
The study took a ground-breaking step by introducing over 2000 family members of the research participants. What they documented helped to give the participant’s comments validity. With this added verification, this research becomes even more relevant when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.
How depression affects health and quality of life
According to the American Psychological Association, those suffering from depression are more likely to experience eating disorders that can lead to acute obesity or significant loss of weight. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and loss of memory.
While driving, cooking, and other activities, their decreased reaction time can lead to severe injury. Those with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.
Depression can increase fall risk in older adults.
As the hearing loss progresses, so does the depression. The individual becomes less able to care for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
About 75% of individuals who should use hearing aids don’t wear them. That’s right. Many individuals have the means to shield themselves from depression by using hearing aids but for some reason abstain from taking the steps.
Why do so many people avoid using a hearing aid?
Many individuals who don’t wear a hearing aid actually do own one. They simply won’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
A hearing aid upgrade would be advantageous for these people. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart tech.
Price is also an issue for a smaller yet substantial number of people. The link between disregarded hearing loss and general health risks is now starting to be acknowledged by states and insurance companies. Hearing aids are, due to this, becoming more accessible and cost-effective. In addition, people who object to the cost of hearing aids also don’t understand how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them in the long run. They don’t understand how hearing loss effects their overall life. In just a few years, your total health cost can go up by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.
How can hearing associated depression symptoms be decreased?
Have pride in wearing your hearing aid. Help combat the stigma people feel about wearing 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 maximize your hearing experience in every situation. If you’re only turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most from your hearing aid. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid in a while, contact us for a demo.
Consult us as soon as possible about the most effective way to utilize your hearing aid, particularly if you feel like you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to put it in a drawer.