As we age, we all know that hearing loss and certain mental health concerns can get worse in spite of a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong link between the two has been discovered by scientists which should never be overlooked. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.
Depression is twice as likely in people who have neglected hearing loss. In contrast to people who use a hearing aid, frequent feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in people who have untreated hearing loss.
They were also 39% more likely to feel that those around them get annoyed for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid social experiences they once enjoyed.
Let’s explore this fascinating study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should know about. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss on their heads
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 simply get by and go on to live the rest of their days healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss was not thought to have any health affects beyond the hearing impairment.
Now we know better. One of the impacts hearing loss can have on your overall health is explored in this study.
This important and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How the study was conducted
Over 2000 people 50 or older were surveyed in this study carried out by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). The participants included a combination of hearing aid wearers and those with untreated hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to identify the levels of:
Over 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 discuss hearing loss, this research, with the extra verification, becomes even more pertinent.
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 weight loss. They are more likely to experience insomnia and loss of memory.
While cooking, driving, and other activities, their decreased 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 danger of falls for older people is also elevated when a person has depression.
As the hearing loss advances, so does the depression. The individual often becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.
Now, let’s look at a really sad statistic.
Usage rates of hearing aids
Only about 25% of people who would benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That’s right. 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 stop it.
Why do so many people neglect using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t wear a hearing aid, many individuals say they own one. They simply won’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
These individuals would benefit from a hearing aid update. Today’s hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more subtle. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.
Price is also a problem for a smaller but significant number of people. The link between untreated hearing loss and total health risks is now beginning to be recognized by states and insurance companies. Hearing aids are, because of this, becoming more available and cost-effective. In addition, individuals who object to the cost of hearing aids also don’t understand how much-untreated hearing loss can cost them over time. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. Neglected hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 4o percent in just a few years.
What can be done to decrease 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.
Optimize your hearing in every setting with your modern hearing aid by taking some time to learn the advanced features. If you’re only turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid. Consult us so you can try out these upgraded hearing aids.
If you feel like you aren’t getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to not use it, speak with us today about how to make use of your hearing aid more effectively.