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

Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could experience hearing loss and certain cognitive challenges as you grow older. 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.

People with untreated hearing loss are two times as likely to suffer from depression. Close to 27% more individuals with untreated hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” in contrast to people who used a hearing aid.

They were also 39% more likely to think those around them get irritated for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social activities they once enjoyed.

Let’s explore this interesting study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should know about. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!

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

Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless affliction for centuries. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. The person would just get by and go on to live the rest of their life healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t thought to have any health affects besides the hearing impairment.

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

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

How the study was conducted

Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) conducted this research and surveyed over 2000 individuals 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid users and those with untreated hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to ascertain the levels of:

  • Anxiety
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Paranoia

More than 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help validate what the participants were self-reporting. With this additional verification, this study becomes even more relevant when we talk about the effects of hearing loss.

How depression affects health and quality of life

Eating disorders like 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 prevalent in those with untreated hearing loss.

They have reduced reaction time, which can lead to significant injuries when 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 progresses, depression gets worse. The person often becomes less able to care for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.

But there’s an even sadder statistic.

Hearing aid usage rates

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 impacts are totally unnecessary and preventable, yet they’re not taking steps to prevent it.

Why so many decide not to use a hearing aid

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

These people would benefit from a hearing aid upgrade. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and let people 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 but substantial number of individuals. The connection between untreated hearing loss and overall health risks is now beginning to be acknowledged by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. In addition, individuals who object to the cost of hearing aids also don’t understand how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them over time. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. Neglected hearing loss can increase your overall healthcare costs by as much as 40% in only a few years.

What can you do to lessen 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.

Take a little time to learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to maximize your hearing experience in every situation. You’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. Consult us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.

Consult us as soon as possible about the most effective way to utilize your hearing aid, particularly if you feel like 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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