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

Even if you have an active, healthy lifestyle, you could experience hearing loss and specific cognitive concerns as you grow older. And scientists have recognized a strong link between the two that shouldn’t be dismissed and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.

People with neglected hearing loss are twice as likely to cope with depression. Compared 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 upset for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social activities they once enjoyed.

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

This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss on their heads

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

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

This significant 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 study and surveyed over 2000 people 50 and older. People with neglected hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to identify the levels of:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation
  • Depression

More than 2000 family members of the participants were also included in this ground-breaking study. What they reported helped to give the participant’s statements validity. With this added verification, this research becomes even more relevant when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.

How depression affects 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 severe obesity or significant weight loss. Memory loss and insomnia are also more predominant in those with untreated hearing loss.

They have decreased reaction time, which can lead to severe injuries while cooking, cleaning, driving, and other activities. Those who suffer with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, leading to complications and lengthy hospital stays.

The risk of falls for older people is also increased when a person has depression.

As the hearing loss progresses, depression gets worse. The person often becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.

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

Usage rates of hearing aids

Only around 25% of individuals who need hearing aids actually wear them. That’s right. Many individuals have the means to protect themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason abstain from taking the steps.

Why so many decide not to use a hearing aid

Many individuals who don’t use a hearing aid actually do own one. They think it makes them look old so they simply neglect using it. It makes them embarrassed.

These individuals would benefit from a hearing aid upgrade. Today’s hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more subtle. This makes them feel less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.

A smaller but significant number of people say they can’t afford one. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the connection between neglected hearing loss and total health. Hearing aids are, due to this, becoming more available and cost-effective. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which the majority of people don’t think about. They don’t understand how hearing loss effects their overall life. Neglected hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 40% in just a few years.

How can hearing related depression symptoms be minimized?

Wear your hearing aid with pride. Help fight 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 setting with your modern hearing aid by taking some time to master the advanced features. 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, meet with 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, speak with 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.