As we get older, we all recognize that hearing loss and particular mental health challenges 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.
Depression is two times as likely in individuals who have neglected hearing loss. About 27% more people with untreated hearing loss reported “often feeling sad” compared to those who used a hearing aid.
They were also 24% more likely to quit doing things they once loved and 39% more likely to feel like people are angry with them for no reason.
There’s an even more troubling statistic you should be aware of, though you won’t like it very much. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
Our ideas about hearing loss will be totally altered by this study
For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a “harmless” condition. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. The person would just get by and go on to live the rest of their life healthily, safely, and happily. Apart from hearing impairment, it was believed that loss of hearing had no other adverse health effects.
Of course we now know that isn’t the situation. One of the effects hearing loss can have on your overall health is explored in this study.
This substantial and well-structured study forces us to rethink hearing loss as a society.
How the study was carried out
Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this study and surveyed more than 2000 people 50 and older. Individuals with neglected hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. Clinically relevant questions were asked to determine the levels of the following:
More than 2000 family members of the participants were also included in this ground-breaking study. What they documented helped to give the participant’s statements validity. When we talk about hearing loss, this research, with the added verification, becomes even more relevant.
How health and quality of life are impacted by depression
According to the American Psychological Association, those suffering from depression are more likely to experience eating disorders that can cause severe obesity or significant loss of weight. They are more likely to experience insomnia and loss of memory.
While cooking, driving, and other activities, their diminished reaction time can result in severe injury. Those who suffer with depression have even been found to heal more slowly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.
The chance of falls for older people is also increased when an individual suffers from depression.
As the hearing loss progresses, so does the depression. The individual usually becomes more and more isolated, lonely, and unable to care for him or herself.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Usage rates of hearing aids
About 75% of people who should use hearing aids don’t use them. Yup! For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its unwanted effects are entirely unnecessary and preventable, yet they’re not taking measures to prevent it.
Why do so many people avoid using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many people say they own one. They simply don’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
These people would benefit from a hearing aid update. Today’s hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more discreet. This makes them seem more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.
Price is also a problem for a smaller yet substantial number of people. The link between disregarded hearing loss and total health risks is now starting to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and accessible. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most people don’t take into account. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. In just a few years, your overall health cost can climb by as much as 40% because of untreated hearing loss.
What can be done to lessen hearing-related depression symptoms?
Wear your hearing aid proudly. Show people how much better you can feel when you can hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help get rid of the stigma.
Take some time to learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to maximize your hearing experience in every setting. If you’re only turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most from your hearing aid. Consult us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.
If you feel like 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.