Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

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 certain cognitive concerns as you grow older. And scientists have found 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 neglected hearing loss are two times as likely to cope with depression. Close to 27% more individuals with untreated hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” in contrast 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 be aware of, though you won’t like it very much. Don’t turn off that hearing aid!

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

For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been considered a “harmless” condition. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. People would just go on with their lives trying to live safely, healthily, and happily. Hearing loss wasn’t believed to have any health affects besides the hearing impairment.

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

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

How the study was carried out

Over 2000 individuals 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 users and those with neglected hearing loss. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to establish the levels of the following:

  • Paranoia
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

The study took a ground-breaking step by including over 2000 family members of the research participants. What they reported helped to give the participant’s comments validity. When we discuss hearing loss, this study, with the added verification, becomes even more pertinent.

How depression affects health and quality of life

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

While cooking, driving, 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, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.

The chance of falls for older people is also elevated when a person suffers from depression.

Depression worsens as hearing loss advances. The person becomes less capable of caring for themselves as loneliness and isolation set in.

But there’s an even sadder statistic.

Usage rates of hearing aids

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

Why so many decide not to use a hearing aid

Many individuals who don’t wear a hearing aid actually do own one. They just won’t wear it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.

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

A smaller but significant number of individuals say they can’t afford one. The connection between untreated hearing loss and general health risks is now beginning to be recognized by states and insurance companies. Hearing aids are, because of this, becoming more available and affordable. In addition, individuals who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t understand how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them in the long run. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will impact their health and quality of life. Unaddressed hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 4o percent in just a few years.

What can you do to decrease hearing-related depression symptoms?

Be proud to wear your hearing aid. Help combat the stigma people feel about using a hearing aid by showing them how much healthier you feel when you can hear.

Take a little time to learn the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to optimize your hearing experience in every setting. You’re not getting the most from 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, especially 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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