As we age, we all know that hearing loss and certain mental health challenges can worsen despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have found a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be ignored and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.
People with neglected hearing loss are twice as likely to suffer from depression. Compared to individuals who use a hearing aid, frequent feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in those who have untreated hearing loss.
They were also 24% more likely to stop doing things they once loved and 39% more likely to feel like 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. Keep that hearing aid turned on!
Our ideas about hearing loss will be totally changed by this study
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 affects beyond the hearing impairment.
Now we know better. One of the impacts hearing loss can have on your general health is investigated in this study.
This significant and well-structured study forces us to rethink hearing loss as a society.
How the study was conducted
Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this research carried out by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). People with neglected 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 included in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help validate what the participants were reporting. When we discuss hearing loss, this research, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.
How depression impacts health and quality of life
According to the American Psychological Association, those who struggle with depression are more likely to experience eating disorders that can lead to severe obesity or significant weight loss. Memory loss and insomnia are also more prevalent in those with untreated hearing loss.
They have reduced reaction time, which can result in significant injuries when cooking, cleaning, driving, and other activities. Healing is slower in individuals who suffer from depression and that can result in longer hospital stays.
The danger of falling for older people is also increased when an individual has depression.
Depression worsens as hearing loss progresses. 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
Only around 25% of individuals who would benefit from hearing aids actually use them. Yup! For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its adverse effects are totally unnecessary and preventable, yet they are not taking measures to prevent it.
Why so many decide not to use a hearing aid
Many individuals who don’t use a hearing aid actually do own one. They just won’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” It makes them embarrassed.
A hearing aid upgrade would be beneficial for these people. Present day hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more discreet. This makes them seem more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.
A smaller but significant number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the connection between untreated hearing loss and overall health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and obtainable. And untreated hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which the majority of individuals don’t take into consideration. They don’t recognize 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 untreated hearing loss.
What can be done to minimize hearing-related depression symptoms?
Wear your hearing aid proudly. 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.
Maximize your hearing in every situation 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 from your hearing aid. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid for a while, meet with us for a demo.
Consult us right away about the most effective way to utilize your hearing aid, especially if you recognize that you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to put it in a drawer.