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

As we age, we all recognize that hearing loss and specific mental health challenges can progress despite a healthy, active lifestyle. 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.

Depression is two times as likely in individuals who are dealing with neglected hearing loss. In contrast to individuals who use a hearing aid, regular feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in those who have neglected hearing loss.

They were also 39% more likely to think the people around them get irritated for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid 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 affliction for centuries. It was thought that the other senses would merely compensate. People would just go on with their lives trying to live safely, healthily, and happily. Beyond hearing impairment, it was thought that loss of hearing had no other adverse health effects.

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

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

How was this study done?

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

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation
  • Anxiety

Over 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help validate what the participants were reporting. With this additional verification, this study becomes even more significant when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.

How health and quality of life are affected by depression

According to the American Psychological Association, those who struggle with depression are more likely to develop eating disorders that can result in acute obesity or significant loss of weight. Memory loss and insomnia are also more prevalent in those with neglected hearing loss.

They have reduced reaction time, which can result in significant injuries whilst cooking, cleaning, driving, and other activities. Those who suffer with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.

The risk of falls for older people is also elevated when an individual suffers from depression.

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

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

Hearing aid usage rates

Only about 25% of those who need hearing aids actually wear them. That’s right. Many individuals have the ability to shield themselves from depression by using hearing aids but for some reason abstain from taking the steps.

Why so many choose not to use a hearing aid

When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many individuals say they own one. They think it makes them look old so they just avoid wearing it. It makes them embarrassed.

A hearing aid update would be beneficial for these individuals. Present day hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more subtle. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart tech.

Price is also an issue for a smaller but substantial number of individuals. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the link between untreated hearing loss and total health. 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 people don’t think about. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. Unaddressed hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 40% in just a few years.

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

Have pride in wearing your hearing aid. Show people how much better you can feel when you can hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help remove the stigma.

Take a little time to learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to optimize your hearing experience in every situation. 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 in a while, contact us for a demo.

If you feel like you aren’t getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to leave it off, speak with us today about how to use your hearing aid more effectively.

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