As we get older, we all recognize that hearing loss and particular mental health challenges can progress despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong link between the two has been discovered by scientists which should never be overlooked. So keep that hearing aid turned on.
Depression is two times as likely in people who have neglected hearing loss. About 27% more individuals with untreated hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” compared 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 as if people are angry with them for no reason.
There’s an even more troubling statistic you should be aware of, though you won’t really like it. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
Our beliefs about hearing loss will be completely altered by this study
For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been considered a “harmless” condition. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. People would simply go on with their lives attempting to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t thought to have any health affects beyond the hearing impairment.
Now we know better. This study establishes just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s general health.
This substantial and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How the research was conducted
Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) conducted this study and surveyed more than 2000 people 50 and older. People with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to ascertain the levels of:
Over 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. What they documented helped to give the participant’s statements validity. When we talk about hearing loss, this research, with the added verification, becomes even more pertinent.
How depression impacts health and quality of life
Eating disorders such as acute obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in people who cope with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more prevalent in those with neglected hearing loss.
They have diminished reaction time, which can lead to significant injuries while cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. Those with depression have even been found to heal more slowly, leading to complications and lengthy hospital stays.
Depression can increase fall risk in older adults.
As the hearing loss progresses, depression gets worse. The individual 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
Only around 25% of individuals who need hearing aids actually use them. That’s right. Many people have the means to shield themselves from depression by using hearing aids but for some reason abstain from taking the steps.
Why so many decide not to wear a hearing aid
Many people who don’t use a hearing aid actually do own one. They just won’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
A hearing aid update would be beneficial for these individuals. Present day 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.
A smaller but considerable number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the connection between untreated hearing loss and general health. Hearing aids are, due to this, becoming more available and affordable. And unaddressed hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which the majority of people don’t take into consideration. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. In only a few years, your overall health cost can go up by as much as 40% because of neglected hearing loss.
How can hearing associated depression symptoms be minimized?
Be proud to wear your hearing aid. Help combat the stigma people feel about wearing a hearing aid by showing them how much healthier you feel when you can hear.
Take a little time to master the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to optimize your hearing experience in every setting. You’re not getting the most from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. Consult us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.
Consult us as soon as possible about the most effective way to use your hearing aid, particularly if you recognize that you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to put it in a drawer.