As we get older, we all know that hearing loss and certain mental health challenges can worsen despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong connection between the two has been discovered by scientists which should never be overlooked. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.
Depression is twice as likely in people who are dealing with untreated hearing loss. About 27% more individuals with neglected 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 annoyed for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid social experiences they once loved.
There’s an even sadder statistic you should be aware of, though you won’t like it very much. 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 condition for centuries. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. People would just go on with their lives attempting to live safely, healthily, and happily. Beyond hearing impairment, it was thought that loss of hearing had no other adverse health effects.
Now we know better. One of the impacts hearing loss can have on your overall health is investigated in this study.
This substantial and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How the study was carried out
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 identify the levels of:
The study took a ground-breaking step by including over 2000 family members of the study participants. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were self-reporting. When we discuss hearing loss, this study, with the added verification, becomes even more relevant.
How depression affects health and quality of life
According to the American Psychological Association, those suffering from depression are more likely to develop eating disorders that can cause acute obesity or significant weight loss. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and memory loss.
While driving, cooking, and other activities, their reduced reaction time can lead to severe injury. Healing is slower in individuals who suffer from depression and that can lead to longer hospital stays.
The danger of falling for older people is also increased when an individual suffers from depression.
Depression progresses as hearing loss advances. The individual often becomes more and more isolated, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.
Now, let’s take a look at a really sad statistic.
Usage rates of hearing aids
Only about 25% of people who would benefit from hearing aids actually use them. Yup! 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?
Many people who don’t wear a hearing aid actually do own one. They simply don’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
These individuals would benefit from a hearing aid update. Present day hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more subtle. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.
A smaller but significant number of individuals say they can’t afford one. The link between neglected hearing loss and total health risks is now starting to be acknowledged by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and accessible. In addition, individuals who object to the cost 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 affect their health and quality of life. Unaddressed hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 40% in only a few years.
What can be done to minimize hearing-associated depression symptoms?
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 get rid of the stigma.
Optimize your hearing in every setting with your modern hearing aid by taking a little time to master the advanced features. You’re not getting the most from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid for 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.