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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 challenges can get worse despite 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 switch that hearing aid off.

Depression is two times as likely in people who are dealing with untreated hearing loss. Close to 27% more individuals with neglected hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” compared to those who used a hearing aid.

They were also 39% more likely to feel that the people around them get annoyed for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid social activities they once enjoyed.

Let’s look at this interesting study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should be aware of. Keep that hearing aid turned on!

This study turns our ideas about hearing loss on their heads

For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been considered a “harmless” condition. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. The person would simply get by and go on to live the rest of their life healthily, safely, and happily. Beyond hearing impairment, it was believed that loss of hearing had no other adverse health effects.

Of course we now know that isn’t the situation. One of the impacts hearing loss can have on your overall health is explored in this study.

This substantial and well-structured study forces us to reconsider hearing loss as a society.

How was this research done?

Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) conducted this research and surveyed over 2000 individuals 50 and older. The participants included a mix of hearing aid wearers and those with untreated hearing loss. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to identify the levels of the following:

  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

Over 2000 family members of the participants were also included in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help validate what the participants were reporting. When we discuss hearing loss, this research, with the added verification, becomes even more pertinent.

How depression impacts health and quality of life

Eating disorders such as acute obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in individuals who cope with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more predominant in those with neglected hearing loss.

They have diminished reaction time, which can result in significant injuries whilst cooking, cleaning, driving, and other activities. Healing is slower in people who suffer from depression and that can result in longer hospital stays.

The risk of falls for older people is also elevated when an individual has depression.

As the hearing loss advances, depression gets worse. The person often becomes less able to care for themselves as loneliness and solitude set in.

Now, let’s look at a really sad statistic.

Usage rates of hearing aids

Around 75% of individuals who need hearing aids don’t use them. That’s right. Many people have the means to protect themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason avoid taking the steps.

Why do so many individuals avoid using a hearing aid?

Many people who don’t wear a hearing aid actually do own one. They simply don’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” It makes them embarrassed.

These individuals would benefit from a hearing aid update. Today’s hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more discreet. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart technology and less like a hearing aid.

A smaller but significant number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the connection between untreated hearing loss and general health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and obtainable. Additionally, people who object to the cost of hearing aids also don’t recognize how much-untreated hearing loss can cost them in the long run. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. Unaddressed hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 40% in only a few years.

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

Be proud to wear your hearing aid. Help fight the stigma people feel about wearing a hearing aid by showing them how much better you feel when you can hear.

Optimize your hearing in every situation with your modern hearing aid by taking a little time to master the advanced features. You’re not getting the most from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid for a while, contact us for a demo.

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 successfully.

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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.