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 scientists have recognized a strong link between the two that shouldn’t be overlooked and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.

Individuals with neglected hearing loss are two times as likely to suffer from depression. In contrast to individuals who use a hearing aid, regular feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in people who have neglected hearing loss.

They were also 24% more likely to stop doing things they used to love and 39% more likely to feel as if people are angry with them for no reason.

Let’s look at this fascinating study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should be aware of. Don’t turn off that hearing aid!

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

Age-related hearing loss has been regarded as 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 life healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss was not believed to have any health impact beyond the hearing impairment.

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

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

How the study was conducted

Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this study conducted by dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). The participants included a combination of hearing aid users and those with neglected hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to ascertain the levels of:

  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

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

How health and quality of life are impacted by depression

Eating disorders like acute obesity or significant weight loss are more likely in individuals who cope with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more predominant in those with untreated hearing loss.

While driving, cooking, and other activities, their diminished reaction time can result in severe injury. Healing is slower in people who cope with depression and that can result in longer hospital stays.

The chance of falling for older people is also increased when a person suffers from depression.

Depression progresses as hearing loss progresses. The person becomes less able to care for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.

But there’s an even sadder statistic.

Usage rates of hearing aids

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

Why do so many people neglect using a hearing aid?

Many individuals who don’t wear a hearing aid actually do own one. They just won’t use it because it makes them “look old.” It makes them embarrassed.

A hearing aid update would be beneficial for these individuals. Today’s 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.

A smaller but considerable number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. The connection between disregarded hearing loss and total health hazards is now beginning to be acknowledged by states and insurance companies. Hearing aids are, because of this, becoming more available and cost-effective. And unaddressed hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which the majority of individuals don’t take into account. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. In just a few years, your total health cost can increase by as much as 40% because of neglected hearing loss.

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

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 get rid of the stigma.

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 from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid in a while, meet with us for a demo.

If you feel you aren’t getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to not use it, speak with 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.
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