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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 certain mental health concerns can get worse in spite of a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have recognized a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be dismissed and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.

People with untreated hearing loss are twice as likely to suffer from depression. 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 stop doing things they once loved and 39% more likely to feel as if people are mad at them for no reason.

Let’s explore this interesting study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should know about. Don’t turn that hearing aid off!

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

Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless affliction for centuries. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. People would simply 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.

Now we know better. This study establishes 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 rethink hearing loss as a society.

How was this research done?

Over 2000 people 50 or older were surveyed in this study conducted by dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). People with neglected hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to determine the levels of the following:

  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

Over 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. What they documented helped to give the participant’s comments validity. With this additional verification, this study becomes even more significant when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.

How depression affects health and quality of life

Eating disorders such as severe obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in people who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and memory loss.

While driving, cooking, 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.

Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.

As the hearing loss advances, depression gets worse. The individual often becomes more and more isolated, lonely, and unable to care for him or herself.

But there’s an even sadder statistic.

Hearing aid usage rates

Around 75% of individuals who need hearing aids don’t wear them. Yup! For many, this increased rate of depression and all of its negative impacts are completely unnecessary and avoidable, yet they’re not taking steps to stop it.

Why so many decide not to use a hearing aid

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

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

A smaller but considerable number of individuals say hearing aids are too expensive. The connection between disregarded hearing loss and overall health risks is now starting to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and obtainable. And untreated hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t think about. They don’t understand how hearing loss impacts their overall life. In only a few years, your total health cost can climb by as much as 40% because of neglected hearing loss.

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

Have pride in wearing your hearing aid. Help fight 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 some time to master the advanced features. You’re not getting the most from 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.

If you feel you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to leave it off, talk to us today about how to use your hearing aid more effectively.

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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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