Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could experience hearing loss and certain cognitive challenges as you get older. And scientists have found 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 neglected hearing loss are twice as likely to cope with depression. About 27% more individuals with untreated hearing loss reported “often feeling sad” compared to those who used a hearing aid.
They were also 24% more likely to stop doing things they once loved and 39% more likely to feel like people are mad at them for no reason.
Let’s look at this fascinating study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should know about. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss upside down
For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been considered a “harmless” affliction. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. The person would simply get by and go on to live the rest of their days healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t thought to have any health impact besides the hearing impairment.
Of course we now know that isn’t the situation. One of the effects hearing loss can have on your general health is investigated in this study.
This substantial and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How was this research done?
Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) conducted this study and surveyed more than 2000 people 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid users and those with untreated hearing loss. Clinically relevant questions were asked to determine the levels of the following:
The study took a ground-breaking step by including over 2000 family members of the research 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 pertinent.
How depression affects health and quality of life
According to the American Psychological Association, those who struggle with depression are more likely to develop eating disorders that can cause acute obesity or extreme loss of weight. Memory loss and insomnia are also more prevalent in those with neglected hearing loss.
While cooking, driving, and other activities, their diminished reaction time can result in severe injury. Those with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.
The risk of falls for older people is also elevated when an individual has depression.
As the hearing loss advances, so does the depression. The person usually becomes more and more isolated, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.
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 means to protect themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason avoid taking the steps.
Why so many decide not to wear a hearing aid
Many people who don’t wear a hearing aid actually do own one. They think it makes them look old so they simply neglect wearing it. It makes them embarrassed.
A hearing aid upgrade would be worthwhile for these people. Present day 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 tech and less like a hearing aid.
A smaller but considerable number of people say hearing aids are too expensive. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the connection between untreated hearing loss and total health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. And unaddressed hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t take into account. They don’t understand how hearing loss effects their overall life. Neglected hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 4o percent in just a few years.
What can be done to minimize hearing-associated depression symptoms?
Have pride in wearing your hearing aid. Show people how much healthier you can feel when you’re able to hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help erase the stigma.
Take a little time to master the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to maximize your hearing experience in every situation. You’re not getting the most from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid for a while, meet with us for a demo.
If you feel like you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to not use it, talk to us today about how to use your hearing aid more successfully.