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 certain mental health challenges can worsen despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong link between the two has been recognized by scientists which should never be overlooked. So don’t turn off that hearing aid.

Depression is two times as likely in individuals who are dealing with untreated hearing loss. Compared to people 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 those around them get annoyed for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social activities they once enjoyed.

There’s an even sadder statistic you should know about, though you won’t like it very much. Keep that hearing aid turned on!

Our beliefs about hearing loss will be entirely transformed 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. People would simply go on with their lives attempting to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t believed to have any health affects besides the hearing impairment.

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

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

How was this study done?

Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) conducted this research and surveyed more than 2000 individuals 50 and older. The participants included a mix of hearing aid wearers and those with untreated hearing loss. Clinically relevant questions were asked to determine the levels of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation

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 reporting. When we talk about hearing loss, this study, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.

How health and quality of life are affected by depression

Eating disorders such as acute obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in individuals who suffer from 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. Those with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, leading to complications and lengthy hospital stays.

Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.

As the hearing loss progresses, so does the depression. The person usually becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.

But there’s an even sadder statistic.

Hearing aid usage rates

About 75% of individuals who need hearing aids don’t wear them. That’s right. Many individuals have the means to protect themselves from depression by using hearing aids but for some reason abstain from taking the steps.

Why do so many people avoid using a hearing aid?

When asked why they don’t wear a hearing aid, many individuals say they own one. They simply don’t use 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.

Price is also a problem for a smaller but significant number of people. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the connection between untreated hearing loss and general health. Hearing aids are, because of this, becoming more accessible and cost-effective. In addition, individuals who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t realize how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them over time. They don’t recognize how hearing loss impacts their overall life. In only a few years, your total health cost can go up by as much as 40% because of untreated hearing loss.

What can be done to minimize hearing-associated depression symptoms?

Be proud to wear your hearing aid. Show people how much better you can feel when you can hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help erase the stigma.

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

Consult us right away about the most effective way to use your hearing aid, especially if you feel like you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to leave it at home.

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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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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