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

As we get older, we all know that hearing loss and particular mental health challenges can progress despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong connection between the two has been observed by scientists which should never be dismissed. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.

Depression is two times as likely in people who have untreated hearing loss. In contrast to individuals who use a hearing aid, frequent feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in those who have untreated hearing loss.

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

There’s an even more troubling statistic you should know about, though you won’t really like it. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!

This study turns our ideas about hearing loss on their heads

For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a “harmless” condition. 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 days healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t thought to have any health affects besides the hearing impairment.

Now we know better. One of the effects hearing loss can have on your overall health is investigated in this study.

As a society, we will need to rethink hearing loss based on this well-structured and important study.

How the study was conducted

Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this study and surveyed more than 2000 people 50 and older. People with untreated hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to establish the levels of the following:

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Isolation

More than 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were reporting. When we discuss hearing loss, this study, with the added verification, becomes even more pertinent.

How health and quality of life are affected by depression

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

They have decreased reaction time, which can lead to severe injuries while cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. Healing is slower in individuals who cope with depression and that can lead to longer hospital stays.

Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.

Depression worsens as hearing loss advances. The individual often 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

About 75% of people who need hearing aids don’t wear them. That’s right. For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its negative effects are completely unnecessary and avoidable, yet they’re not taking steps to prevent it.

Why do so many people neglect using a hearing aid?

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

A hearing aid update would be beneficial for these people. Modern hearing aids work better, and they are also more discreet and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart technology and less like a hearing aid.

Price is also a problem for a smaller but significant number of individuals. The connection between untreated hearing loss and total health risks is now starting to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. Additionally, people who object to the cost of hearing aids also don’t recognize how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them in the long run. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. Unaddressed hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 40% in only a few years.

How can hearing associated depression symptoms be decreased?

Be proud to wear 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 situation with your modern hearing aid by taking some time to learn the advanced features. If you’re only 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.

Consult us right away about the most effective way to use your hearing aid, especially if you recognize that you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to put it in a drawer.

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