Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could experience hearing loss and specific cognitive concerns as you get older. And scientists have found a strong link between the two that shouldn’t be ignored and it will help if you don’t turn that hearing aid off.
Individuals with neglected hearing loss are two times as likely to cope with depression. About 27% more people with untreated hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” compared to people 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 more troubling statistic you should know about, though you won’t like it very much. Don’t turn off that hearing aid!
Our ideas about hearing loss will be entirely changed by this study
Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless condition for centuries. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. The person would just get by and go on to live the rest of their life healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss was not thought to have any health affects beyond the hearing impairment.
Now we know better. One of the impacts hearing loss can have on your general health is investigated in this study.
This significant and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How the study was carried out
Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this research and surveyed over 2000 individuals 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid users and those with untreated hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to ascertain the levels of:
Over 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were reporting. When we talk about hearing loss, this research, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.
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. Memory loss and insomnia are also more common in those with neglected hearing loss.
They have reduced reaction time, which can lead to severe injuries when cooking, cleaning, driving, and other activities. Those with depression have even been found to heal more slowly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.
Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.
As the hearing loss advances, depression gets worse. The individual often becomes less able to care for themselves as loneliness and solitude set in.
Now, let’s look at a really sad statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
Only around 25% of individuals who would benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. Yup! Many individuals have the ability to shield themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason abstain from taking the steps.
Why so many choose not to wear a hearing aid
Many people who don’t use a hearing aid actually do own one. They simply won’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
A hearing aid update would be advantageous for these people. Today’s hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more subtle. This makes them feel less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.
Price is also a problem for a smaller but significant number of individuals. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the connection between untreated hearing loss and overall health. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and accessible. And untreated hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most people don’t think about. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. In just a few years, your total health cost can go up by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.
What can be done to lessen 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. If you’re just turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid for a while, contact us for a demo.
Consult us as soon as possible 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.