As we get older, we all recognize that hearing loss and certain mental health challenges can progress despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have discovered a strong connection 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 are dealing with untreated hearing loss. Close to 27% more people with untreated 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 upset for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social experiences they once loved.
Let’s explore this interesting study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should know about. Don’t turn off that hearing aid!
This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss on their heads
For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a “harmless” affliction. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. People would simply go on with their lives attempting to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss was not believed to have any health impact besides the hearing impairment.
Now we know better. This study demonstrates just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s overall health.
This substantial and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How was this study done?
Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this study carried out by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). People with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to determine the levels of:
More than 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. What they reported helped to give the participant’s comments validity. With this added verification, this study becomes even more relevant when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.
How health and quality of life are impacted by depression
According to the American Psychological Association, those suffering from depression are more likely to develop eating disorders that can result in severe obesity or extreme loss of weight. They are more likely to experience insomnia and loss of memory.
While cooking, driving, and other activities, their decreased reaction time can lead to severe injury. Those who suffer with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, leading to complications and lengthy hospital stays.
Depression can increase fall risk in older adults.
Depression worsens as hearing loss advances. The person becomes less capable of caring for themselves as loneliness and solitude set in.
Now, let’s look at a really sad statistic.
Usage rates of hearing aids
About 75% of people who need hearing aids don’t use them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its negative effects are totally unnecessary and avoidable, yet they’re not taking measures to stop it.
Why do so many individuals avoid using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t wear a hearing aid, many people say they own one. They simply won’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” It makes them embarrassed.
A hearing aid update would be advantageous for these people. Present day hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more discreet. This makes them feel less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart tech.
A smaller but significant number of individuals say they can’t afford one. The connection between neglected hearing loss and total health hazards is now beginning to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and obtainable. And unaddressed hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most people don’t take into consideration. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will affect 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.
How can hearing associated depression symptoms be reduced?
Wear your hearing aid with pride. Show people how much healthier you can feel when you can hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help remove the stigma.
Take some time to learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to optimize your hearing experience in every setting. You’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. 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.