Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, 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 progress in spite of a healthy, active lifestyle. 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.

Depression is twice as likely in individuals who are dealing with neglected hearing loss. About 27% more individuals with neglected hearing loss reported “frequently feeling sad” compared to those 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 mad at them for no reason.

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 that hearing aid off!

Our beliefs about hearing loss will be totally transformed 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. People would just go on with their lives attempting to live safely, healthily, 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’s not the situation. This study establishes just one of the larger effects that hearing loss has on a person’s overall health.

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

How was this study done?

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 combination of hearing aid wearers and those with neglected hearing loss. They asked clinically-relevant questions to determine the levels of:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation

The study took a ground-breaking step by introducing over 2000 family members of the research participants. They did this to help corroborate what the participants were self-reporting. When we talk about hearing loss, this study, with the extra verification, becomes even more relevant.

How health and quality of life are impacted by depression

Eating disorders such as severe obesity or extreme weight loss are more likely in people who suffer from depression, according to the American Psychological Association. They are more likely to experience insomnia and loss of memory.

They have diminished reaction time, which can lead to severe injuries whilst cooking, driving, cleaning, and other activities. Those who suffer with depression have even been found to heal less quickly, leading to complications and lengthy hospital stays.

The danger of falls for older people is also increased when a person suffers from depression.

As the hearing loss advances, depression gets worse. The person often becomes more and more secluded, lonely, and unable to care for him or herself.

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

Hearing aid usage rates

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

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 don’t use it because it makes them “look old.” They’re embarrassed.

A hearing aid upgrade would be advantageous for these individuals. Today’s hearing aids can sync to your smart devices, work better, and are more subtle. This makes them seem less like a hearing aid and more like an extension of their smart technology.

A smaller but considerable number of people say hearing aids are too expensive. The link between disregarded hearing loss and overall health risks is now beginning to be recognized by states and insurance companies. They are helping to make hearing aids more budget friendly and accessible. And neglected hearing loss can cost a lot of money over time which the majority of individuals don’t take into consideration. They’re unaware of how hearing loss will affect their health and quality of life. In only a few years, your total health cost can increase by as much as 40% because of unaddressed hearing loss.

How can hearing related depression symptoms be minimized?

Be proud to wear your hearing aid. Show people how much healthier you can feel when you can 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 for a while, contact us for a demo.

Consult us right away about the most effective way to use 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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