Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could develop hearing loss and certain cognitive concerns as you age. And scientists have found a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be overlooked 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. About 27% more people with neglected 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 annoyed for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social experiences they once loved.
There’s an even more troubling statistic you should know about, though you won’t really like it. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
Our ideas about hearing loss will be completely changed by this study
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. People would simply go on with their lives attempting to live safely, healthily, and happily. Apart from hearing impairment, it was believed that loss of hearing had no other adverse health effects.
Of course we now know that isn’t the case. This study demonstrates 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 study was carried out
Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this study conducted by dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). Individuals with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to identify the levels of:
Over 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. What they reported helped to give the participant’s statements validity. When we discuss hearing loss, this study, with the added verification, becomes even more pertinent.
How depression affects health and quality of life
Eating disorders such as severe obesity or significant weight loss are more likely in people who cope with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and loss of memory.
While driving, cooking, and other activities, their diminished reaction time can lead to severe injury. 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, so does the depression. The person usually becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for him or herself.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Usage rates of hearing aids
Around 75% of people who should use hearing aids don’t wear them. Yup! For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its unwanted effects are entirely unnecessary and preventable, yet they’re not taking steps to stop it.
Why do so many individuals avoid using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many individuals say they do own one. They just don’t use it because it makes them “look old.” It makes them embarrassed.
A hearing aid update would be worthwhile for these individuals. 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 technology and less like a hearing aid.
A smaller but significant number of individuals say they can’t afford one. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the link between neglected hearing loss and total health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and obtainable. In addition, individuals who object to the cost of hearing aids also don’t realize how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them over time. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. In just a few years, your total health cost can climb by as much as 40% because of neglected hearing loss.
What can you do to decrease hearing-associated depression symptoms?
Be proud to wear your hearing aid. Show people how much better you can feel when you’re able to hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help get rid of the stigma.
Optimize your hearing in every setting with your modern hearing aid by taking some time to master the advanced features. You’re not getting the most from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid in 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.