Louisville Family Audiology - Louisville, KY

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 develop hearing loss and specific cognitive challenges as you age. And scientists have discovered a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be ignored and it will help if you don’t switch that hearing aid off.

Individuals with untreated hearing loss are twice as likely to cope with depression. In contrast to individuals who use a hearing aid, frequent feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in people who have untreated hearing loss.

They were also 39% more likely to feel that the people around them get upset for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social activities they once loved.

Let’s explore this fascinating study and an even sadder statistic you won’t want to hear but should be aware of. Keep that hearing aid turned on!

Our beliefs about hearing loss will be completely transformed by this study

Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless affliction for centuries. It was thought that the other senses would merely compensate. The person would simply get by and go on to live the rest of their life healthily, safely, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t believed to have any health affects beyond the hearing impairment.

Of course we now know that isn’t the case. One of the impacts hearing loss can have on your overall health is investigated in this study.

This important and well-structured study forces us to rethink hearing loss as a society.

How the study was carried out

Committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this research and surveyed more than 2000 individuals 50 and older. Individuals with neglected hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. They asked clinically-relevant questions to ascertain the levels of:

  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

The study took a ground-breaking step by introducing more than 2000 family members of the research participants. They did this to help validate what the participants were reporting. When we talk about hearing loss, this research, with the added verification, becomes even more pertinent.

How health and quality of life are impacted by depression

According to the American Psychological Association, those who struggle with depression are more likely to develop eating disorders that can result in severe obesity or significant weight loss. They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and loss of memory.

While driving, cooking, and other activities, their decreased reaction time can result in severe injury. Those who suffer with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, leading to complications and lengthy 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 isolated, lonely, and unable to care for him or herself.

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

Usage rates of hearing aids

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

Why do so many individuals neglect using a hearing aid?

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

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

A smaller but significant number of people say hearing aids are too expensive. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the connection between untreated hearing loss and total health. Hearing aids are, due to this, becoming more accessible and cost-effective. Additionally, people who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t recognize how much-untreated hearing loss can cost them in the long run. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. In only a few years, your overall health cost can increase by as much as 40% because of neglected hearing loss.

What can be done to lessen hearing-related depression symptoms?

Wear your hearing aid with pride. Help combat the stigma people feel about using 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 learn the advanced features. You’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. Consult us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.

Consult us right away about the most effective way to utilize your hearing aid, particularly 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.
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