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

As we get older, we all recognize that hearing loss and certain mental health concerns can get worse despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong link between the two has been observed by scientists which should never be ignored. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.

Depression is twice as likely in people who have untreated hearing loss. About 27% more individuals with neglected hearing loss reported “often feeling sad” compared 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 like people are angry with them for no reason.

Let’s look at this interesting study and an even more troubling statistic you won’t want to hear but should be aware of. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!

This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss on their heads

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 trying to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t thought to have any health affects besides the hearing impairment.

Now we know better. This study establishes just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s overall health.

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

How the research was conducted

Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this study carried out by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). People with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to ascertain the levels of:

  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

More than 2000 family members of the participants were also included in this ground-breaking study. What they documented helped to give the participant’s comments validity. When we talk about hearing loss, this research, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.

How depression impacts health and quality of life

Eating disorders like severe obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in people who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more predominant in those with neglected hearing loss.

While cooking, driving, and other activities, their decreased reaction time can result in severe injury. Healing is slower in people who cope with depression and that can lead to longer hospital stays.

The risk of falls for older people is also elevated when a person has depression.

Depression worsens as hearing loss progresses. The person often becomes less capable of caring for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.

But there’s an even sadder statistic.

Usage rates of hearing aids

Only around 25% of people who would benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its adverse impacts are entirely unnecessary and avoidable, yet they are not taking measures to stop 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 think it makes them look old so they just avoid wearing it. They’re embarrassed.

A hearing aid update would be advantageous for these people. Modern hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them feel less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.

A smaller but considerable number of people say hearing aids are too expensive. The link between untreated hearing loss and general health risks is now beginning to be recognized by states and insurance companies. Hearing aids are, due to this, becoming more accessible and cost-effective. And unaddressed hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which the majority of individuals don’t think about. They don’t recognize how hearing loss impacts their overall life. Untreated hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 4o percent in just a few years.

What can be done to reduce hearing-related depression symptoms?

Wear your hearing aid proudly. Help combat the stigma people feel about wearing 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 situation. If you’re only turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most from your hearing aid. Consult us so you can try out these upgraded hearing aids.

If you feel you aren’t getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to not use it, speak with us today about how to use your hearing aid more effectively.

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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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