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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 challenges as you age. And scientists have found a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be overlooked and it will help if you don’t turn that hearing aid off.

Individuals with neglected hearing loss are two times as likely to cope with depression. Nearly 27% more people with untreated hearing loss reported “often feeling sad” compared to people who used a hearing aid.

They were also 24% more likely to stop doing things they used to love and 39% more likely to feel like people are angry with them for no reason.

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

This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss upside down

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. Apart from hearing impairment, it was believed that loss of hearing had no other adverse health effects.

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

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

How the research was conducted

Dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) conducted this research and surveyed more than 2000 individuals 50 and older. The participants included a combination of hearing aid users and those with untreated hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to determine the levels of:

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Isolation

Over 2000 family members of the participants were also involved in this ground-breaking study. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were self-reporting. When we discuss hearing loss, this research, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.

How health and quality of life are affected by depression

Eating disorders like acute obesity or significant weight loss are more likely in individuals who cope with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more prevalent in those with neglected hearing loss.

While cooking, driving, and other activities, their reduced reaction time can lead to severe injury. Those with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.

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

As the hearing loss progresses, so does the depression. The individual becomes less capable of caring for themselves as loneliness and solitude set in.

But there’s an even sadder statistic.

Hearing aid usage rates

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

Why so many decide not to use a hearing aid

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

A hearing aid update would be worthwhile for these individuals. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more discreet and let people sync with devices. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart tech.

Price is also a problem for a smaller yet substantial number of individuals. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the connection between neglected hearing loss and general health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. In addition, people who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t realize how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them in the long run. They’re not aware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. Neglected hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 4o percent in just a few years.

What can you do to lessen 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 healthier you feel when you can hear.

Take some time to learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to maximize your hearing experience in every setting. You’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. Get a consultation with us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.

If you feel like 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 make use of 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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