Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could develop hearing loss and specific cognitive concerns as you get older. And a strong link between the two has been discovered by scientists which should never be dismissed. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.
Individuals with neglected hearing loss are twice as likely to deal with depression. Close to 27% more people with neglected hearing loss reported “often feeling sad” in contrast to those who used a hearing aid.
They were also 24% more likely to quit doing things they once loved 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 be aware of, though you won’t really like it. Keep that hearing aid turned on!
Our ideas about hearing loss will be completely transformed by this study
For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been considered a “harmless” affliction. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. People would simply go on with their lives attempting to live safely, healthily, and happily. Apart from hearing impairment, it was believed that loss of hearing had no other adverse health effects.
Of course we now know that isn’t the case. One of the effects hearing loss can have on your overall health is investigated in this study.
This substantial and well-structured study forces us to rethink hearing loss as a society.
How the research was carried out
Dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) conducted this research and surveyed more than 2000 individuals 50 and older. The participants included a mix of hearing aid wearers and those with neglected hearing loss. Clinically relevant questions were asked to identify the levels of the following:
The study took a ground-breaking step by introducing more than 2000 family members of the study participants. What they reported helped to give the participant’s statements validity. When we talk about hearing loss, this research, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.
How depression affects health and quality of life
Eating disorders such as acute obesity or significant weight loss are more likely in those who cope with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more common in those with neglected hearing loss.
While driving, cooking, and other activities, their decreased reaction time can result in severe injury. Healing is slower in people who suffer from depression and that can result in longer hospital stays.
Depression can increase fall risk in older adults.
Depression worsens as hearing loss advances. The individual often becomes more and more isolated, lonely, and unable to care for him or herself.
Now, let’s look at a really sad statistic.
Hearing aid usage rates
Only about 25% of those who need hearing aids actually wear them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its negative effects are completely unnecessary and avoidable, yet they are not taking measures to prevent it.
Why so many decide not to use a hearing aid
Many people who don’t wear a hearing aid actually do own one. They simply don’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.
These people would benefit from a hearing aid upgrade. Modern hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and let people sync with devices. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.
Price is also an issue for a smaller yet significant number of people. The link between untreated hearing loss and overall health risks is now beginning to be acknowledged by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. And untreated hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t take into consideration. They don’t understand how hearing loss impacts their overall life. In just a few years, your overall health cost can increase by as much as 40% because of neglected hearing loss.
How can hearing associated depression symptoms be minimized?
Have pride in wearing your hearing aid. Help combat 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. You’re not getting the most from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid in 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 put it in a drawer.