Geneva Hearing Services - Geneva, IL

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

As we age, we all know that hearing loss and specific mental health concerns can worsen despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And scientists have discovered a strong connection between the two that shouldn’t be ignored and it will help if you don’t turn that hearing aid off.

Depression is two times as likely in individuals who have untreated hearing loss. About 27% more individuals with untreated hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” compared to people who used a hearing aid.

They were also 39% more likely to think those around them get upset for “no reason” and 24% more likely to avoid social experiences they once enjoyed.

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

This study turns our ideas about hearing loss on their heads

Age-related hearing loss has been considered a harmless condition for centuries. It was believed that the other senses would merely compensate. People would just go on with their lives trying to live safely, healthily, and happily. Apart from hearing impairment, it was thought that loss of hearing had no other adverse health effects.

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

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

How the research was conducted

Over 2000 people 50 or older were surveyed in this study conducted by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). The participants included a mix of hearing aid wearers and those with neglected hearing loss. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to determine the levels of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation

The study took a ground-breaking step by introducing over 2000 family members of the study participants. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were self-reporting. With this additional verification, this study becomes even more pertinent when we discuss the effects of hearing loss.

How depression impacts health and quality of life

Eating disorders such as acute obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in those who cope with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more prevalent in those with untreated hearing loss.

They have reduced reaction time, which can result in significant injuries while cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. Those with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, leading to complications and lengthy hospital stays.

Depression can increase fall risk in older adults.

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

But there’s an even sadder statistic.

Usage rates of hearing aids

Around 75% of individuals who need hearing aids don’t wear them. Yup! Many people have the means to shield themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason avoid taking the steps.

Why do so many individuals neglect using a hearing aid?

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

A hearing aid update would be worthwhile for these individuals. Present day 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.

Price is also a problem for a smaller yet substantial number of people. States and insurance companies are now starting to recognize the connection between neglected hearing loss and overall health. Hearing aids are, due to this, becoming more available and cost-effective. And unaddressed hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which the majority of individuals don’t take into account. They don’t understand 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 unaddressed hearing loss.

How can hearing associated depression symptoms be reduced?

Wear your hearing aid with pride. Show people how much better you can feel when you can hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help get rid of the stigma.

Maximize 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 from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid for a while, meet with us for a demo.

Consult us as soon as possible about the most effective way to utilize your hearing aid, particularly if you recognize that you’re not getting the most out of it and are tempted to put it in a drawer.

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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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