Audiology & Hearing Care of SWFL - Bonita Springs, 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 develop hearing loss and certain cognitive challenges as you get older. And scientists have recognized 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 neglected hearing loss are two times as likely to suffer from depression. Compared to individuals 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 irritated for “no reason” and 24% more likely to steer clear of social activities they once loved.

Let’s look at this fascinating study and an even more troubling statistic you won’t want to hear but should know about. Don’t turn off that hearing aid!

This study turns our thoughts about hearing loss upside down

Age-related hearing loss has been regarded as a harmless condition for centuries. 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. Hearing loss wasn’t believed to have any health impact besides the hearing impairment.

Of course we now know that’s not the case. One of the impacts 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 was this study done?

Dedicated researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA) carried out this study and surveyed more than 2000 people 50 and older. Individuals with neglected hearing loss and people who used hearing aids were among the participants. Clinically pertinent questions were asked to determine the levels of the following:

  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

Over 2000 family members of the participants were also included in this ground-breaking study. What they reported helped to give the participant’s comments validity. With this additional verification, this research becomes even more pertinent when we talk about the effects of hearing loss.

How health and quality of life are affected by depression

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

They have reduced reaction time, which can lead to significant injuries while cooking, cleaning, driving, and other activities. Healing is slower in people who suffer from depression and that can result in longer hospital stays.

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

Depression progresses as hearing loss progresses. The person often becomes more and more isolated, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.

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

Usage rates of hearing aids

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

Why do so many individuals neglect using a hearing aid?

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

A hearing aid update would be worthwhile for these people. Present day hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more discreet. This makes them seem more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.

A smaller but significant number of individuals say they can’t afford one. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the connection between neglected hearing loss and general health. Hearing aids are, because of this, becoming more available and cost-effective. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which most individuals don’t take into account. They’re not aware 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 only a few years.

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

Wear your hearing aid proudly. 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 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 try out these upgraded hearing aids.

If you feel you’re not getting the most out of your hearing aid and are tempted to leave it off, speak with us today about how to use your hearing aid more successfully.

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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.