Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could develop hearing loss and certain cognitive challenges as you age. 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.
People with untreated hearing loss are two times as likely to suffer from depression. About 27% more individuals with untreated hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” in contrast to those who used a hearing aid.
They were also 24% more likely to quit doing things they used to love and 39% more likely to feel like people are mad at them for no reason.
There’s an even sadder statistic you should know about, though you won’t like it very much. Keep that hearing aid turned on!
This study turns our ideas about hearing loss upside down
Age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a harmless affliction for centuries. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. The person would just 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 affects besides the hearing impairment.
Of course we now know that isn’t the case. This study illustrates just one of the greater effects that hearing loss has on a person’s overall health.
This important 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 conducted by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). The participants included a mix of hearing aid wearers and those with untreated hearing loss. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to determine the levels of the following:
The study took a ground-breaking step by introducing more than 2000 family members of the study participants. What they reported helped to give the participant’s statements validity. With this additional verification, this study becomes even more significant when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.
How health and quality of life are affected by depression
According to the American Psychological Association, those suffering from depression are more likely to experience eating disorders that can result in acute obesity or significant weight loss. Memory loss and insomnia are also more predominant in those with neglected hearing loss.
They have decreased reaction time, which can lead to significant injuries whilst cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. Healing is slower in people who cope with depression and that can lead to longer hospital stays.
Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.
Depression progresses as hearing loss advances. The individual becomes less capable of caring for themselves as loneliness and solitude set in.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
Around 75% of people who need hearing aids don’t wear them. That’s right. Many individuals have the means to shield themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason avoid taking the steps.
Why so many choose not to wear a hearing aid
Many individuals who don’t wear a hearing aid actually do own one. They just won’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
These people would benefit from a hearing aid update. Modern hearing aids work better, and they are also more discreet and let people sync with devices. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.
Price is also an issue for a smaller but significant number of people. The link between disregarded hearing loss and overall health hazards is now beginning to be recognized by states and insurance companies. Hearing aids are, because of this, becoming more available and cost-effective. Additionally, individuals who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t realize how much-untreated hearing loss can cost them over time. They don’t understand how hearing loss effects their overall life. In just a few years, your overall health cost can increase by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.
How can hearing related depression symptoms be reduced?
Be proud to wear your hearing aid. Help fight the stigma people feel about wearing a hearing aid by showing them how much healthier you feel when you can hear.
Take some time to master the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to optimize your hearing experience in every situation. 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, meet with us for a demo.
If you feel you aren’t 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.