Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could develop hearing loss and specific cognitive challenges as you grow older. And a strong link between the two has been recognized by scientists which should never be dismissed. So keep that hearing aid turned on.
Individuals with neglected hearing loss are two times as likely to suffer from depression. About 27% more individuals with neglected hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” in contrast to people who used a hearing aid.
They were also 24% more likely to quit doing things they used to love and 39% more likely to feel like people are angry with them for no reason.
Let’s look at this fascinating study and an even more troubling statistic you won’t want to hear but should be aware of. Keep that hearing aid turned on!
This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss upside down
Age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a harmless condition for centuries. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. The person would just get by and go on to live the rest of their life healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t thought to have any health impact besides the hearing impairment.
Of course we now know that isn’t the situation. This study presents just one of the greater effects that hearing loss has on a person’s overall health.
This important and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.
How the research was carried out
Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this study carried out by dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). The participants included a combination of hearing aid users and those with neglected hearing loss. Clinically relevant questions were asked to establish the levels of the following:
The study took a ground-breaking step by including over 2000 family members of the research participants. What they reported helped to give the participant’s statements validity. When we discuss hearing loss, this research, with the added verification, becomes even more pertinent.
How depression impacts health and quality of life
According to the American Psychological Association, those who struggle with depression are more likely to develop eating disorders that can result in severe obesity or significant loss of weight. They are more likely to experience insomnia and memory loss.
While cooking, driving, and other activities, their reduced reaction time can result in severe injury. Healing is slower in people who cope with depression and that can lead to longer hospital stays.
Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.
As the hearing loss progresses, so does the depression. The individual becomes less able to care for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.
Now, let’s look at a really sad statistic.
Usage rates of hearing aids
Only about 25% of individuals who would benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. Yup! Many people have the ability to protect themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason abstain from taking the steps.
Why do so many people neglect using a hearing aid?
Many individuals who don’t use a hearing aid actually do own one. They think it makes them look old so they just neglect wearing it. It makes them embarrassed.
A hearing aid update would be worthwhile for these people. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more discreet and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart technology and less like a hearing aid.
A smaller but considerable number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. The link between untreated hearing loss and overall health risks is now starting to be recognized by states and insurance companies. Hearing aids are, because of this, becoming more accessible and cost-effective. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most people don’t take into account. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. In just a few years, your overall health cost can climb by as much as 40% because of untreated hearing loss.
How can hearing associated depression symptoms be minimized?
Wear your hearing aid proudly. Help fight 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 learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to maximize your hearing experience in every situation. 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, meet with us for a demo.
Consult us right away about the most effective way to use your hearing aid, especially if you feel like you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to leave it at home.