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

As we get older, we all know that hearing loss and particular mental health challenges can progress despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have discovered a strong link between the two that shouldn’t be dismissed and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.

Individuals with neglected hearing loss are two times as likely to cope with depression. Compared to people who use a hearing aid, regular feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in people who have untreated hearing loss.

They were also 39% more likely to think those around them get upset for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid social experiences they once enjoyed.

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

Our ideas about hearing loss will be entirely altered by this study

Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless affliction for centuries. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. People would just go on with their lives trying to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t believed to have any health impact beyond the hearing impairment.

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

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

How the research was conducted

Dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this study and surveyed over 2000 individuals 50 and older. Individuals with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to determine the levels of:

  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

The study took a ground-breaking step by including more than 2000 family members of the research participants. What they reported helped to give the participant’s comments validity. With this additional verification, this research becomes even more relevant when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.

How health and quality of life are affected by depression

Eating disorders such as acute obesity or significant weight loss are more likely in individuals who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. They are more likely to experience insomnia and memory loss.

While driving, cooking, and other activities, their reduced reaction time can result in severe injury. Those with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.

Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.

As the hearing loss advances, so does the depression. The person often becomes more and more isolated, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.

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

Usage rates of hearing aids

Around 75% of individuals who should use hearing aids don’t use them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its adverse effects are completely unnecessary and avoidable, yet they’re not taking steps to prevent it.

Why do so many people neglect using a hearing aid?

When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many people say they do own one. They simply don’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.

A hearing aid upgrade would be worthwhile for these people. Present day hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more subtle. This makes them seem more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.

Price is also a problem for a smaller yet substantial number of individuals. The connection between disregarded hearing loss and general health hazards is now beginning to be acknowledged by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and obtainable. Additionally, people who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t understand how much-untreated hearing loss can cost them over time. 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 unaddressed hearing loss.

How can hearing associated depression symptoms be minimized?

Wear your hearing aid with pride. Show people how much healthier you can feel when you’re able to hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help erase the stigma.

Take some time to master the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to maximize your hearing experience in every setting. You’re not getting the most from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. Get a consultation with us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.

If you feel like you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to not use it, talk to us today about how to make use of 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.