Evanston Audiology - Evanston, IL

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

As we age, we all recognize that hearing loss and specific mental health concerns can progress despite a healthy, active lifestyle. And a strong link between the two has been observed by scientists which should never be overlooked. So keep that hearing aid turned on.

People with neglected hearing loss are twice as likely to cope with depression. In contrast to individuals who use a hearing aid, regular feelings of sadness were reported 27% more in those who have untreated hearing loss.

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

Let’s explore 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 ideas 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. The person would just 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 adverse health effects.

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

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

How was this study done?

Over 2000 individuals 50 or older were surveyed in this research carried out by committed researchers at the National Institute for Aging (NCOA). The participants included a mix of hearing aid users and those with untreated hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to determine the levels of:

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Isolation

The study took a ground-breaking step by including more than 2000 family members of the study participants. They did this to help validate what the participants were self-reporting. When we talk about hearing loss, this research, with the added verification, becomes even more pertinent.

How health and quality of life are impacted by depression

Eating disorders such as severe obesity or significant weight loss are more likely in individuals who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Memory loss and insomnia are also more prevalent in those with neglected hearing loss.

While driving, cooking, and other activities, their decreased reaction time can lead to severe injury. Those with depression have even been found to heal more slowly, leading to complications and lengthy hospital stays.

Depression can increase the risk of falling in older adults.

As the hearing loss advances, so does the depression. The individual often becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for themselves.

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

Hearing aid usage rates

Only around 25% of those who would benefit from hearing aids actually use them. Yup! Many individuals have the ability to protect themselves from depression by wearing hearing aids but for some reason avoid taking the steps.

Why so many choose not to wear a hearing aid

Many people who don’t wear a hearing aid actually do own one. They simply don’t use it because it makes them “look old.” It makes them embarrassed.

These people would benefit from a hearing aid upgrade. Contemporary hearing aids work better, and they are also more unobtrusive and allow people to sync with devices. This makes them feel more like an extension of your smart tech and less like a hearing aid.

Price is also a problem for a smaller yet significant number of individuals. States and insurance companies are now recognizing the link between untreated hearing loss and total health. They are helping to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible. Additionally, people who object to the price of hearing aids also don’t realize how much-neglected hearing loss can cost them over time. They don’t understand how hearing loss impacts their overall life. Unaddressed hearing loss can increase your total healthcare costs by as much as 4o percent in just a few years.

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

Have pride in wearing your hearing aid. Help fight the stigma people feel about using a hearing aid by showing them how much healthier you feel when you can hear.

Maximize your hearing in every situation with your modern hearing aid by taking some time to learn the advanced features. You’re not getting the most from your hearing aid by simply cranking up the volume. Get a consultation with us so you can demo these upgraded hearing aids.

Consult us right away about the most effective way to utilize your hearing aid, particularly 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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