As we age, we all recognize that hearing loss and particular mental health challenges can get worse in spite of a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have recognized a strong link between the two that shouldn’t be overlooked and it will help if you don’t turn that hearing aid off.
People with untreated hearing loss are twice as likely to cope with depression. 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 those around them get upset for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid social activities they once enjoyed.
There’s an even sadder 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 on their heads
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 simply 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.
Now we know better. One of the effects hearing loss can have on your general health is investigated in this study.
As a society, we will need to reconsider hearing loss based on this well-structured and compelling study.
How was this research done?
Over 2000 people 50 or older were surveyed in this study conducted by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). The participants included a combination of hearing aid wearers and those with untreated hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to identify the levels of:
The study took a ground-breaking step by including more than 2000 family members of the research participants. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were self-reporting. When we talk about hearing loss, this study, with the added verification, becomes even more relevant.
How health and quality of life are impacted by depression
According to the American Psychological Association, those who struggle with depression are more likely to develop eating disorders that can cause acute obesity or significant weight loss. Memory loss and insomnia are also more predominant in those with neglected hearing loss.
They have decreased reaction time, which can result in significant injuries whilst cooking, cleaning, driving, and other activities. Those who suffer with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.
The chance of falls for older people is also increased when an individual suffers from depression.
As the hearing loss progresses, depression gets worse. The person usually 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
About 75% of individuals who need hearing aids don’t use them. Yup! For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its negative impacts are totally unnecessary and avoidable, yet they’re not taking steps to stop it.
Why do so many individuals neglect using a hearing aid?
When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many people say they do own one. They think it makes them look old so they simply neglect wearing it. They’re embarrassed.
A hearing aid update would be beneficial for these people. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more discreet and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.
A smaller but significant number of people say they can’t afford one. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the connection between untreated hearing loss and total health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and obtainable. And unaddressed hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t think about. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. In only a few years, your total health cost can increase by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.
How can hearing related depression symptoms be decreased?
Wear your hearing aid proudly. Help combat the stigma people feel about using a hearing aid by showing them how much better you feel when you can hear.
Take a little time to master the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to maximize your hearing experience in every setting. If you’re only 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 recognize that you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to put it in a drawer.