Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could develop hearing loss and certain cognitive concerns as you age. And a strong connection between the two has been observed by scientists which should never be overlooked. So keep that hearing aid turned on.
Depression is twice as likely in individuals who have neglected hearing loss. In contrast to people who use a hearing aid, regular feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in those who have neglected hearing loss.
They were also 39% more likely to feel that the people around them get irritated for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social activities they once enjoyed.
There’s an even more troubling statistic you should be aware of, though you won’t like it very much. Keep that hearing aid turned on!
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 thought 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 thought to have any health affects beyond the hearing impairment.
Of course we now know that isn’t the situation. This study demonstrates just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s overall health.
This important and well-structured study forces us to rethink hearing loss as a society.
How was this study done?
Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this study carried out 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. They asked clinically-relevant questions to identify the levels of:
The study took a ground-breaking step by introducing more than 2000 family members of the study participants. What they documented helped to give the participant’s statements validity. With this additional verification, this research becomes even more relevant when we talk about the effects of hearing loss.
How depression affects health and quality of life
Eating disorders like acute obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in individuals who cope with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more prevalent in those with neglected hearing loss.
They have reduced reaction time, which can result in severe injuries whilst cooking, cleaning, driving, 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 becomes less able to care for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
About 75% of people who need hearing aids don’t use them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its unwanted effects are totally unnecessary and avoidable, yet they’re not taking measures to stop it.
Why do so many people avoid using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t wear a hearing aid, many individuals say they 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 advantageous for these individuals. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more discreet and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them feel less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.
Price is also an issue for a smaller but significant number of people. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the link between neglected hearing loss and overall health. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and obtainable. Additionally, people who object to the cost of hearing aids also don’t recognize how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them over time. They don’t understand how hearing loss effects their overall life. In only a few years, your total health cost can go up by as much as 40% because of neglected hearing loss.
What can you do to minimize hearing-related depression symptoms?
Be proud to wear your hearing aid. Help fight the stigma people feel about using a hearing aid by showing them how much healthier 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. If you’re just turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most from your hearing aid. Get a consultation with us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.
If you feel like you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to not use it, speak with us today about how to use your hearing aid more effectively.