As we age, we all know that hearing loss and particular mental health concerns can progress despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have recognized a strong link between the two that shouldn’t be ignored and it will help if you don’t turn that hearing aid off.
Depression is twice as likely in individuals who have untreated hearing loss. Close to 27% more people with neglected hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” in contrast to people who used a hearing aid.
They were also 39% more likely to feel that those around them get upset for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid social activities they once loved.
Let’s explore this interesting study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should be aware of. Keep that hearing aid turned on!
This study turns our ideas about hearing loss on their heads
For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been considered a “harmless” condition. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. People would simply go on with their lives trying to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss was not thought to have any health impact beyond the hearing impairment.
Now we know better. One of the effects hearing loss can have on your general health is explored in this study.
As a society, we will need to reconsider hearing loss based on this well-structured and important study.
How was this research done?
Over 2000 people 50 or older were surveyed in this study carried out by dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). People with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. Clinically relevant questions were asked to determine the levels of the following:
Over 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help validate what the participants were self-reporting. With this added verification, this research becomes even more pertinent when we talk about the effects of hearing loss.
How depression affects health and quality of life
Eating disorders like severe obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in people who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more prevalent in those with neglected hearing loss.
While cooking, driving, and other activities, their decreased reaction time can result in severe injury. Those with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, leading to complications and lengthy hospital stays.
The chance of falling for older people is also elevated when an individual has depression.
Depression progresses as hearing loss advances. The individual often becomes less able to care for themselves as loneliness and solitude set in.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Usage rates of hearing aids
Only around 25% of people who need hearing aids actually use them. Yup! Many people have the means to shield themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason avoid taking the steps.
Why do so many individuals neglect using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t wear a hearing aid, many individuals 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 upgrade. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and let people sync with devices. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.
A smaller but significant number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the link between neglected hearing loss and overall health. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and obtainable. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t take into consideration. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. In just a few years, your overall health cost can go up by as much as 40% because of untreated hearing loss.
What can you do to lessen hearing-associated depression symptoms?
Wear your hearing aid with pride. Help fight the stigma people feel about using 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 setting. If you’re just turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid for a while, meet with us for a demo.
If you feel you’re not 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.