Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could develop hearing loss and specific cognitive concerns as you get older. And scientists have discovered a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be dismissed and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.
Individuals with neglected hearing loss are twice as likely to cope with depression. About 27% more individuals with untreated hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” compared 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 activities they once enjoyed.
There’s an even sadder statistic you should be aware of, though you won’t really like it. Don’t turn off that hearing aid!
This study turns our ideas about hearing loss on their heads
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 simply get by and go on to live the rest of their days healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t thought to have any health impact besides the hearing impairment.
Of course we now know that’s not the situation. One of the impacts hearing loss can have on your overall health is investigated in this study.
As a society, we will need to reconsider hearing loss based on this well-structured and compelling study.
How was this study done?
Dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this study and surveyed over 2000 people 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid users and those with neglected hearing loss. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to establish the levels of the following:
More than 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. What they documented helped to give the participant’s comments validity. When we discuss hearing loss, this research, with the extra verification, becomes even more pertinent.
How health and quality of life are impacted by depression
Eating disorders such as acute obesity or significant weight loss are more likely in those who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. They are more likely to experience insomnia and memory loss.
While driving, cooking, and other activities, their reduced reaction time can lead to severe injury. Those with depression have even been found to heal more slowly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.
Depression can increase fall risk in older adults.
Depression worsens as hearing loss progresses. The person often becomes less capable of caring for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
About 75% of individuals who need hearing aids don’t use them. That’s right. Many people have the ability 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 people say they do own one. They simply won’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” It makes them embarrassed.
These people would benefit from a hearing aid update. Present day 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 technology and less like a hearing aid.
Price is also a problem for a smaller but significant number of people. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the connection between neglected hearing loss and overall health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. And untreated hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most people don’t think about. They don’t understand how hearing loss effects their overall life. Unaddressed hearing loss can increase your overall healthcare costs by as much as 4o percent in only a few years.
What can be done to reduce hearing-related depression symptoms?
Wear your hearing aid proudly. Help fight the stigma people feel about wearing a hearing aid by showing them how much healthier you feel when you can hear.
Maximize your hearing in every setting with your modern hearing aid by taking some time to learn the advanced features. If you’re just 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 use 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.