Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could develop hearing loss and certain cognitive concerns as you age. And scientists have recognized a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be overlooked and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.
People with untreated hearing loss are two times as likely to suffer from depression. Close to 27% more people with neglected hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” in contrast to people who used a hearing aid.
They were also 39% more likely to think those around them get annoyed for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid social activities they once enjoyed.
There’s an even sadder statistic you should be aware of, though you won’t really like it. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
This study turns our ideas about hearing loss upside down
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. Apart from hearing impairment, it was believed that loss of hearing had no other negative health effects.
Of course we now know that’s not the situation. This study illustrates just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s general health.
This important and well-structured study forces us to rethink hearing loss as a society.
How was this research done?
Over 2000 people 50 or older were surveyed in this research carried out by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). The participants included a mix of hearing aid users and those with untreated hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to determine the levels of:
The study took a ground-breaking step by introducing over 2000 family members of the study participants. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were reporting. When we discuss hearing loss, this study, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.
How health and quality of life are impacted by depression
Eating disorders such as severe obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in people who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. They are more likely to experience insomnia and loss of memory.
They have decreased reaction time, which can result in significant injuries whilst cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. Those with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, leading to complications and lengthy hospital stays.
Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.
As the hearing loss progresses, depression gets worse. The person often becomes more and more isolated, 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 those who need hearing aids actually wear them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its unwanted impacts are entirely unnecessary and avoidable, yet they’re not taking steps to prevent it.
Why so many decide not to wear a hearing aid
When asked why they don’t wear a hearing aid, many individuals say they do own one. They just won’t use it because it makes them “look old.” It makes them embarrassed.
These individuals would benefit from a hearing aid upgrade. Modern hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and let people sync with devices. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.
Price is also an issue for a smaller but significant number of individuals. The link between neglected hearing loss and overall health risks is now starting to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and obtainable. In addition, individuals who object to the cost of hearing aids also don’t realize how much-untreated hearing loss can cost them in the long run. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. In only a few years, your total health cost can climb by as much as 40% because of neglected hearing loss.
What can be done to minimize hearing-related depression symptoms?
Have pride in wearing your hearing aid. Show people how much better you can feel when you can hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help remove the stigma.
Maximize your hearing in every setting with your modern hearing aid by taking a little time to learn the advanced features. If you’re just 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, meet with us for a demo.
If you feel like 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 successfully.