As we age, we all know that hearing loss and particular mental health challenges can worsen in spite of a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have recognized a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be overlooked and it will help if you don’t turn that hearing aid off.
Depression is twice as likely in people who have neglected hearing loss. 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 annoyed for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social activities they once enjoyed.
There’s an even sadder statistic you should know about, though you won’t really like it. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss upside down
Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless affliction for centuries. It was thought that the other senses would merely compensate. The person would simply 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.
Now we know better. One of the effects hearing loss can have on your overall health is explored in this study.
As a society, we will need to rethink hearing loss based on this well-structured and significant study.
How was this study done?
Dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this study and surveyed over 2000 individuals 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid wearers and those with neglected hearing loss. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to establish the levels of the following:
Over 2000 family members of the participants were also included in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were reporting. When we talk about hearing loss, this study, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.
How depression affects health and quality of life
According to the American Psychological Association, those who struggle with depression are more likely to experience eating disorders that can cause severe obesity or extreme loss of weight. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and memory loss.
While cooking, driving, and other activities, their diminished reaction time can result in severe injury. Healing is slower in individuals who cope with depression and that can lead to longer hospital stays.
The danger of falling for older people is also increased when a person suffers from depression.
As the hearing loss progresses, so does the depression. The individual usually becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.
Now, let’s look at a really sad statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
Around 75% of individuals who need hearing aids don’t use them. That’s right. 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 choose not to use a hearing aid
Many individuals who don’t wear a hearing aid actually do own one. They think it makes them look old so they just avoid using it. They’re embarrassed.
These people would benefit from a hearing aid update. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart technology and less like a hearing aid.
Price is also a problem for a smaller but significant number of people. The connection between untreated hearing loss and total health risks is now beginning to be acknowledged by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. And unaddressed hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which the majority of people don’t take into consideration. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. Untreated hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 4o percent in only a few years.
What can be done to decrease hearing-related depression symptoms?
Be proud to wear your hearing aid. Help fight the stigma people feel about wearing a hearing aid by showing them how much better you feel when you can hear.
Maximize your hearing in every situation with your modern hearing aid by taking a little time to master the advanced features. If you’re just 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.
If you feel you aren’t getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to leave it off, speak with us today about how to use your hearing aid more effectively.