Hearing Health Blog

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 get older. 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.

Depression is twice as likely in people who are dealing with neglected hearing loss. Compared to people 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 feel that the people around them get annoyed for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social activities they once loved.

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

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

For centuries, age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a “harmless” affliction. It was widely believed that compensation would come from all of the other senses. The person would simply get by and go on to live the rest of their days healthily, safely, and happily. Apart from hearing impairment, it was thought that loss of hearing had no other negative health effects.

Of course we now know that isn’t the situation. This study demonstrates just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s overall health.

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

How was this research done?

Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this research conducted by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). People 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
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia

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 added verification, this research becomes even more relevant when we talk about the effects of hearing loss.

How health and quality of life are impacted by depression

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

They have reduced reaction time, which can lead to severe injuries while cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. Those with depression have even been found to heal more slowly, causing complications and lengthy hospital stays.

Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.

Depression worsens as hearing loss progresses. The person usually becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.

But there’s an even sadder statistic.

Hearing aid usage rates

Only around 25% of those who would benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That’s right. 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?

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

A hearing aid upgrade would be worthwhile for these people. Modern hearing aids work better, and they are also more discreet and let people sync with devices. This makes them feel less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.

Price is also an issue for a smaller but substantial number of people. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the connection between neglected hearing loss and overall health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and obtainable. In addition, individuals who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t understand how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them over time. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. Untreated hearing loss can increase your overall healthcare costs by as much as 40% in only a few years.

How can hearing related depression symptoms be reduced?

Wear your hearing aid proudly. Show people how much better you can feel when you’re able to hear, wear your hearing aids proudly, and help remove the stigma.

Take some time to master the advanced features of your modern hearing aid to optimize your hearing experience in every situation. If you’re only turning the volume up and down, you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid. If you haven’t upgraded your hearing aid in a while, meet with us for a demo.

Consult us as soon as possible 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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