As we age, we all know that hearing loss and certain mental health concerns can worsen in spite of a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong link between the two has been observed by scientists which should never be overlooked. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.
Depression is twice as likely in people who have untreated hearing loss. About 27% more people with untreated hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” compared to people who used a hearing aid.
They were also 24% more likely to stop doing things they used to love and 39% more likely to feel like people are mad at them for no reason.
There’s an even sadder statistic you should know about, though you won’t like it very much. Keep that hearing aid turned on!
Our ideas about hearing loss will be totally altered by this study
For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a “harmless” condition. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. People would simply go on with their lives trying to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss was not believed to have any health affects besides the hearing impairment.
Now we know better. This study presents just one of the greater effects that hearing loss has on a person’s general health.
This important and well-structured study forces us to rethink hearing loss as a society.
How was this study done?
Over 2000 people 50 or older were surveyed in this study carried out by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). Individuals with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to identify the levels of:
More than 2000 family members of the participants were also included in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help validate what the participants were self-reporting. When we discuss hearing loss, this research, with the extra verification, becomes even more pertinent.
How depression affects health and quality of life
Eating disorders such as severe obesity or significant weight loss are more likely in people who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and loss of memory.
They have decreased reaction time, which can result in severe injuries while cooking, cleaning, driving, and other activities. 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, depression gets worse. The person often becomes more and more isolated, lonely, and unable to care for him or herself.
But there’s an even sadder statistic.
Usage rates of hearing aids
Around 75% of people who should use hearing aids don’t use them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its unwanted effects are entirely unnecessary and avoidable, yet they are not taking steps to stop it.
Why so many choose not to use a hearing aid
Many individuals who don’t use 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 upgrade. Modern hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.
Price is also a problem for a smaller yet substantial number of individuals. The link between untreated hearing loss and overall health risks is now starting to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and obtainable. And unaddressed hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t take into account. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. In only a few years, your overall health cost can climb by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.
How can hearing related depression symptoms be decreased?
Have pride in wearing your hearing aid. Help fight the stigma people feel about using a hearing aid by showing them how much healthier you feel when you can hear.
Optimize your hearing in every setting with your modern hearing aid by taking some time to master the advanced features. If you’re just turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most from your hearing aid. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid in a while, meet with us for a demo.
If you feel like you aren’t getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to not use it, talk to us today about how to use your hearing aid more effectively.