As we get older, we all know that hearing loss and specific mental health concerns can get worse in spite of a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong link between the two has been discovered by scientists which should never be dismissed. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.
Individuals with neglected hearing loss are two times as likely to deal with depression. Nearly 27% more people 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 used to love and 39% more likely to feel as if people are angry with them for no reason.
There’s an even sadder statistic you should be aware of, though you won’t like it very much. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!
This study turns our ideas about hearing loss upside down
Age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a harmless affliction for centuries. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. The person would just get by and go on to live the rest of their life healthily, safely, 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 isn’t the case. This study presents just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s general health.
As a society, we will need to reconsider hearing loss based on this well-structured and important study.
How the research was conducted
Over 2000 people 50 or older were surveyed in this study carried out by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). Individuals with neglected hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to identify the levels of:
More than 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help validate what the participants were reporting. When we talk about 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 lead to acute obesity or extreme weight loss. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and loss of memory.
They have decreased reaction time, which can result in severe injuries when cooking, cleaning, driving, and other activities. Healing is slower in people who suffer from depression and that can result in longer hospital stays.
The chance of falls for older people is also elevated when an individual has depression.
As the hearing loss progresses, depression gets worse. The individual often becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for him or herself.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
Only around 25% of those who need hearing aids actually wear them. Yup! For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its adverse impacts are entirely unnecessary and avoidable, yet they’re not taking measures to prevent it.
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 avoid wearing it. They’re embarrassed.
A hearing aid upgrade would be beneficial for these people. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them seem more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.
Price is also an issue for a smaller yet substantial number of individuals. The connection between disregarded hearing loss and general health risks is now beginning to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and obtainable. Additionally, people who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t understand how much-neglected 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 overall health cost can climb by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.
What can be done to reduce hearing-associated depression symptoms?
Wear your hearing aid with pride. Help combat the stigma people feel about wearing a hearing aid by showing them how much better you feel when you can hear.
Maximize your hearing in every setting with your modern hearing aid by taking a little time to master the advanced features. You’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. Consult us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.
Consult us right away about the most effective way to use your hearing aid, especially if you recognize that you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to leave it at home.
The content of this blog is the intellectual property of MedPB.com and is reprinted here with permission.
The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a personalized free hearing test and hearing loss consultation, call today to set up an appointment.