As we age, we all recognize that hearing loss and specific mental health challenges can progress despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong connection between the two has been recognized by scientists which should never be dismissed. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.
Depression is twice as likely in people who have neglected hearing loss. Compared to people who use a hearing aid, regular feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in those who have untreated hearing loss.
They were also 24% more likely to quit doing things they used to love and 39% more likely to feel as if people are mad at them for no reason.
Let’s explore this interesting study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should know about. Keep that hearing aid turned on!
Our ideas about hearing loss will be entirely altered by this study
For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a “harmless” affliction. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. People would simply go on with their lives trying to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss was not believed to have any health impact besides the hearing impairment.
Of course we now know that’s not the situation. This study establishes just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s general health.
As a society, we will need to rethink hearing loss based on this well-structured and significant study.
How was this study done?
Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) conducted this study and surveyed more than 2000 individuals 50 and older. People with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to identify the levels of the following:
The study took a ground-breaking step by including more than 2000 family members of the research participants. What they reported helped to give the participant’s comments validity. With this added verification, this research becomes even more relevant when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.
How depression affects health and quality of life
According to the American Psychological Association, those suffering from depression are more likely to experience eating disorders that can cause severe obesity or extreme loss of weight. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and memory loss.
While cooking, driving, and other activities, their diminished reaction time can result in severe injury. Healing is slower in people who cope with depression and that can result in longer hospital stays.
The chance of falls for older people is also increased when an individual suffers from depression.
As the hearing loss progresses, so does the depression. The individual usually becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
Only around 25% of people who would benefit from hearing aids actually use them. Yup! Many people have the means to shield themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason avoid taking the steps.
Why do so many individuals avoid using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many people say they own one. They just don’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
These people would benefit from a hearing aid upgrade. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart tech.
Price is also an issue for a smaller but significant number of individuals. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the connection between untreated hearing loss and general health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which the majority of individuals don’t think about. They don’t understand how hearing loss effects their overall life. In just a few years, your overall health cost can go up by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.
How can hearing related depression symptoms be reduced?
Have pride in wearing your hearing aid. Show people how much healthier you can feel when you can hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help get rid of the stigma.
Take a little time to learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to optimize your hearing experience in every setting. If you’re only turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid in a while, contact 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 make use of your hearing aid more effectively.