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A happy male, wearing hearing aids, sitting with a female for coffee. Focus is on the hearing aid.

As we age, we all know that hearing loss and particular mental health challenges can progress despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have discovered a strong link between the two that shouldn’t be dismissed and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.

Depression is two times as likely in individuals who are dealing with untreated hearing loss. Compared to individuals who use a hearing aid, regular feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in people who have neglected hearing loss.

They were also 39% more likely to think those around them get annoyed for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social experiences they once enjoyed.

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!

Our ideas about hearing loss will be entirely altered by this study

For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been considered a “harmless” condition. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. People would simply go on with their lives attempting to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss was not thought to have any health affects 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 explored in this study.

This important and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.

How was this study done?

Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this research carried out by dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). Individuals with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to identify the levels of the following:

  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

The study took a ground-breaking step by including more than 2000 family members of the study participants. 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 pertinent.

How depression impacts health and quality of life

According to the American Psychological Association, those suffering from depression are more likely to develop eating disorders that can lead to acute obesity or significant loss of weight. They are more likely to experience insomnia and loss of memory.

They have reduced reaction time, which can lead to significant 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 progresses, so does the depression. The individual often becomes less capable of caring for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.

Now, let’s look at a really sad statistic.

Usage rates of hearing aids

Only around 25% of individuals who would benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its unwanted effects are entirely unnecessary and avoidable, yet they are not taking steps to stop it.

Why do so many individuals neglect using a hearing aid?

When asked why they don’t wear a hearing aid, many people say they own one. They think it makes them look old so they simply avoid wearing it. It makes them embarrassed.

A hearing aid update would be advantageous for these people. Modern hearing aids work better, and they are also more discreet 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.

A smaller but significant number of individuals say they can’t afford one. The link between neglected hearing loss and overall health risks is now starting 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 the majority of individuals don’t take into account. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. In just a few years, your total health cost can increase by as much as 40% because of untreated hearing loss.

What can be done to lessen 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 better you feel when you can hear.

Take some time to learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to optimize your hearing experience in every setting. 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 in a while, meet with 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.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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