Having to go to the ER can cost you time off work, and also personal pain. What if you could minimize ER visits and dramatically decrease your risk of depression, anxiety, and even cognitive decline.
Emerging research makes the case that, for those with severe hearing loss, using their hearing aid could be the difference between staying connected and healthy and ending up spending many nights in the emergency room.
Participants from 65 to 85 participated in a University of Michigan study. Severe hearing loss was a widespread problem between them. But out of all of those who took part, only 45% of them wore their hearing aids regularly.
This is on par with similar studies which have shown that only around 30% of individuals who have hearing aids actually wear them.
12 fewer, of the 585 people who did use their hearing aid, had Er visits or unplanned hospitalizations.
This may seem like a small number. But statistically, this is significant.
And there’s more. They also found that those who used their hearing aids spend, on average, one fewer day in the hospital. They were more likely to show up for regular appointments with their doctors, which most likely reduced their time in ER.
How Might Hearing Aids Minimize The Need For Emergency Care Visits?
First for the obvious one. If an individual is staying on top of their health, they’re more likely to stay away from ER.
Other research has shown that when individuals with hearing loss wear their hearing aids, they stay more connected to family, friends, and the community. This can lead to both a stronger drive to keep that doctor’s appointment and better access to services and assistance to get to appointments.
And driving is safer when you can hear, so you will be more confident if you are getting yourself to your appointment.
In addition, a U.S. study revealed that individuals with hearing loss who don’t wear their hearing aid are twice as likely to be depressed. Depression can lead to a lack of self-care, which can lead to health problems.
The third thing is, numerous studies have shown that wearing your hearing aid can reduce fall risk and cognitive decline. As a person begins to lose their hearing, the associated region of the brain starts to decline from lack of use. With time, this can spread through the brain. As this occurs, people commonly experience dementia symptoms and the disorientation and lack of balance associated with falls.
Long hospital stays frequently accompany falls and falling is a major cause of senior death.
Hearing aids reduce visits to the ER for these reasons amongst others.
Why do so Many Individuals Avoid Wearing Hearing Aids?
It’s hard to come up with a valid excuse.
Fear of appearing old is one leading reason why some people don’t use their hearing aids. 25% of people over 65 and 50% of people over 75 have hearing loss and yet this notion of looking old with hearing aids persists. Hearing loss is not uncommon. It’s common. And thanks to the rise in noise pollution and earbud usage, hearing loss is increasing among people in their twenties.
Ironically, constantly asking people to repeat themselves often makes a person appear a lot older than they are.
Some people cite the price of hearing aids. However, hearing aids have become more affordable in just the past few years, and there are ways to finance them.
Finally, some don’t enjoy the hearing experience with their hearing aid. In this case, your hearing specialist can help you understand what settings work best in different circumstances. Hearing aids don’t always fit and sound optimal on the first fitting and sometimes need a number of tries.
If something is stopping you from wearing your hearing aid, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your hearing specialist.