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 develop hearing loss and certain cognitive concerns as you get older. And a strong link between the two has been observed by scientists which should never be overlooked. So keep that hearing aid turned on.

Individuals with neglected hearing loss are twice as likely to suffer from depression. Compared to people who use a hearing aid, frequent feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in those who have neglected hearing loss.

They were also 24% more likely to stop doing things they once loved and 39% more likely to feel like people are mad at them for no reason.

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

This study turns our ideas about hearing loss upside down

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 just go on with their lives attempting to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss was not thought to have any health affects besides the hearing impairment.

Of course we now know that’s not the case. This study illustrates just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s overall health.

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

How the research was conducted

Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this study and surveyed more than 2000 individuals 50 and older. The participants included a mix of hearing aid wearers and those with untreated hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to identify the levels of:

  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

The study took a ground-breaking step by introducing over 2000 family members of the study participants. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were reporting. When we talk about hearing loss, this study, with the added 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 develop eating disorders that can lead to acute 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, leading to complications and lengthy hospital stays.

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

Depression progresses as hearing loss advances. The person usually becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.

But there’s an even sadder statistic.

Usage rates of hearing aids

Around 75% of people who need hearing aids don’t wear them. Yup! For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its unwanted effects are totally unnecessary and avoidable, yet they’re not taking steps to prevent it.

Why so many decide not to wear a hearing aid

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

These individuals would benefit from a hearing aid update. Modern hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them feel less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart tech.

A smaller but considerable number of individuals say they can’t afford one. The connection between disregarded hearing loss and overall health hazards is now beginning to be acknowledged by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t think about. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. Untreated hearing loss can increase your overall healthcare costs by as much as 40% in only a few years.

How can hearing associated depression symptoms be reduced?

Have pride in wearing your hearing aid. Help combat 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 setting with your modern hearing aid by taking a little time to learn the advanced features. 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 use your hearing aid more effectively.

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