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 particular mental health challenges can get worse despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have discovered a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be dismissed and it will help if you don’t turn that hearing aid off.

Individuals with neglected hearing loss are two times as likely to deal with depression. Close to 27% more individuals with neglected hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” in contrast to those who used a hearing aid.

They were also 39% more likely to feel that those around them get upset for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social activities they once loved.

There’s an even more troubling statistic you should know about, though you won’t like it very much. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!

Our beliefs about hearing loss will be totally altered by this study

Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless condition for centuries. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. The person would simply get by and go on to live the rest of their days healthily, safely, and happily. Beyond hearing impairment, it was believed that loss of hearing had no other negative health effects.

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

As a society, we will need to reconsider hearing loss based on this well-structured and significant study.

How was this study done?

Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this study and surveyed over 2000 people 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid wearers and those with neglected hearing loss. Clinically relevant questions were asked to establish the levels of the following:

  • Isolation
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depression

Over 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were reporting. When we talk about hearing loss, this study, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.

How depression impacts health and quality of life

According to the American Psychological Association, those suffering from depression are more likely to experience eating disorders that can cause severe obesity or extreme loss of weight. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and memory loss.

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

Depression can increase fall risk in older adults.

As the hearing loss advances, so does the depression. The individual often becomes less able to care for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.

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

Hearing aid usage rates

Only around 25% of individuals who need hearing aids actually use them. Yup! Many people have the means to shield themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason avoid taking the steps.

Why so many decide not to use a hearing aid

Many people who don’t use a hearing aid actually do own one. They just won’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” They’re 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 subtle. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart technology and less like a hearing aid.

A smaller but considerable number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. The link between disregarded hearing loss and general health risks is now beginning to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and accessible. In addition, people who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t understand how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them over time. They don’t understand how hearing loss impacts their overall life. In just a few years, your overall health cost can climb by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.

What can you do to lessen hearing-related depression symptoms?

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

Take a little time to learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to maximize your hearing experience in every setting. You’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid for a while, meet with us for a demo.

Consult us as soon as possible about the most effective way to use your hearing aid, particularly if you recognize that you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to put it in a drawer.

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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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