Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could experience hearing loss and specific cognitive challenges as you get older. And a strong connection between the two has been recognized by scientists which should never be ignored. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.
Individuals with untreated hearing loss are twice as likely to suffer from depression. About 27% more individuals with neglected hearing loss reported “often feeling sad” in contrast to those who used a hearing aid.
They were also 24% more likely to quit doing things they once loved and 39% more likely to feel as if people are angry with them for no reason.
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
For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been considered a “harmless” affliction. It was thought that the other senses would merely compensate. The person would just get by and go on to live the rest of their days healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t believed to have any health affects besides the hearing impairment.
Now we know better. This study illustrates just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s overall health.
This significant and well-structured study forces us to rethink hearing loss as a society.
How was this study done?
Dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this research and surveyed more than 2000 people 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid wearers and those with neglected hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to ascertain the levels of:
Over 2000 family members of the participants were also included in this ground-breaking study. What they documented helped to give the participant’s statements validity. With this added verification, this study becomes even more pertinent when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.
How health and quality of life are impacted by depression
Eating disorders like acute obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in individuals who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and memory loss.
While cooking, driving, and other activities, their decreased reaction time can lead to severe injury. Those with depression have even been found to heal more slowly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.
The chance of falling for older people is also elevated when an individual has depression.
As the hearing loss progresses, so does the depression. The person often becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for him or herself.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Usage rates of hearing aids
Only about 25% of people who need hearing aids actually use them. Yup! For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its negative effects are totally unnecessary and preventable, yet they’re not taking measures to prevent it.
Why so many decide not to use a hearing aid
When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many people say they do own one. They just don’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
A hearing aid upgrade would be beneficial for these individuals. Today’s hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more discreet. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart technology and less like a hearing aid.
Price is also a problem for a smaller but substantial number of individuals. The link between neglected hearing loss and general health risks is now beginning to be acknowledged by states and insurance companies. Hearing aids are, because of this, becoming more available and cost-effective. And untreated hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t take into account. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. In just a few years, your overall health cost can go up by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.
What can be done to reduce hearing-related depression symptoms?
Wear your hearing aid with pride. 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 some time to master the advanced features. If you’re only turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most from your hearing aid. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid in a while, contact us for a demo.
Consult us right away about the most effective way to use your hearing aid, particularly if you feel like you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to leave it at home.