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

As we get older, we all recognize that hearing loss and specific mental health challenges can worsen despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have found a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be ignored and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.

Depression is two times as likely in individuals who have untreated hearing loss. In contrast to people 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 once loved 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 know about. Keep that hearing aid turned on!

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

Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless condition for centuries. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. People would just go on with their lives trying to live safely, healthily, and happily. Apart from hearing impairment, it was believed that loss of hearing had no other negative health effects.

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

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 research and surveyed over 2000 individuals 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid users and those with neglected hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to determine the levels of:

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation
  • Anxiety

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. When we talk about hearing loss, this research, with the added verification, becomes even more pertinent.

How depression impacts health and quality of life

According to the American Psychological Association, those suffering from depression are more likely to experience eating disorders that can result in acute obesity or extreme weight loss. Memory loss and insomnia are also more predominant in those with neglected hearing loss.

While cooking, driving, and other activities, their decreased reaction time can result in severe injury. Healing is slower in individuals who suffer from depression and that can lead to longer hospital stays.

The chance of falls for older people is also elevated when an individual has depression.

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

But there’s an even sadder statistic.

Hearing aid usage rates

Around 75% of people who need hearing aids don’t wear them. Yup! Many individuals have the means to shield themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason avoid taking the steps.

Why so many choose not to wear a hearing aid

When asked why they don’t use a hearing aid, many people say they own one. They think it makes them look old so they just neglect using it. They’re embarrassed.

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

A smaller but considerable number of people say they can’t afford one. The connection between disregarded hearing loss and overall health hazards is now beginning to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and obtainable. Additionally, people who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t understand how much-untreated hearing loss can cost them over time. 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 4o percent in only a few years.

How can hearing associated depression symptoms be reduced?

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.

Maximize your hearing in every situation with your modern hearing aid by taking a little time to learn the advanced features. If you’re just turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid. Consult us so you can try out these upgraded hearing aids.

If you feel you aren’t 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 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.