Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could develop hearing loss and specific cognitive concerns as you age. And scientists have discovered a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be ignored and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.
Depression is twice as likely in people who have untreated hearing loss. In contrast to individuals who use a hearing aid, regular feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in those who have neglected hearing loss.
They were also 24% more likely to quit doing things they once loved and 39% more likely to feel like people are mad at them for no reason.
There’s an even sadder statistic you should know about, though you won’t like it very much. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss on their heads
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 attempting to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss was not thought to have any health impact beyond the hearing impairment.
Of course we now know that’s not the case. This study illustrates just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s general health.
This significant and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How was this study done?
Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this study conducted by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). The participants included a combination of hearing aid wearers and those with neglected hearing loss. Clinically relevant questions were asked to establish the levels of the following:
The study took a ground-breaking step by including over 2000 family members of the study participants. They did this to help validate what the participants were self-reporting. When we discuss hearing loss, this research, with the added verification, becomes even more pertinent.
How health and quality of life are affected by depression
Eating disorders like acute 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 experience insomnia and loss of memory.
They have decreased reaction time, which can result in significant injuries while cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. Healing is slower in people who suffer from depression and that can lead to longer hospital stays.
The danger of falling for older people is also elevated when a person suffers from depression.
Depression progresses as hearing loss progresses. The individual often becomes less capable of caring for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.
Now, let’s take a look at a really sad statistic.
Usage rates of hearing aids
Only about 25% of individuals who would benefit from hearing aids actually use them. Yup! Many people have the ability to protect themselves from depression by using hearing aids but for some reason abstain from taking the steps.
Why so many choose not to use a hearing aid
When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many individuals say they do own one. They just won’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
These individuals would benefit from a hearing aid update. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more discreet and let people sync with devices. This makes them feel less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.
A smaller but significant number of people say they can’t afford one. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the link between untreated hearing loss and overall health. Hearing aids are, due to this, becoming more available and affordable. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t take into account. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. In just a few years, your overall health cost can increase by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.
What can be done to reduce hearing-associated 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 situation with your modern hearing aid by taking some time to master the advanced features. If you’re just turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid. Get a consultation with us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.
If you feel you aren’t getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to not use it, talk to us today about how to make use of your hearing aid more successfully.