Nearly 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss yet barely one in four use hearing devices even if they’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss. While we use glasses to correct our vision, there still is some stigma attached to using hearing aids to correct our hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss leads to a variety of physical and emotional problems. They include hypertension, increased risk of stroke, sleeplessness, isolation, depression and early on-set dementia.
At Active Hearing & Audiology, we use our combined 36 years of industry experience to diagnose and treat you with dignity, respect and compassion. Call today for a free hearing consultation. No one these days should miss out on whatever society has to offer because of hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Not A Harmless Condition
Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in the United States affecting more than nine million Americans over the age of 65 and 10 million Americans age 45 to 64. Looking at those age groups and hearing aid use – only three out of five individuals over the age of 65 use them and only one out of seven middle-aged Americans use them.
A new study by The National Council on the Aging indicates untreated hearing loss for seniors is anything but a harmless condition. The survey, conducted by the Senior’s Research Group with the NCOA, surveyed 2,300 hearing impaired adults age 50 and older and found those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety and paranoia and were less likely to participate in social activities, compared to those who wore hearing aids.
Hearing Loss Consequences
A significant number of seniors involved in the survey with untreated hearing loss said they had feelings of sadness or depression that lasted two of more weeks during the previous year, about 30% of those who categorized themselves as having severe hearing loss reported feeling sad compared to 22% of those who used hearing aids.
Another indication of emotional distress, according to psychologists, is believing other people are angry with you for no reason. This is also seen as an indicator of paranoia. The survey group was given this statement: “People get angry with me usually for no reason.” Fourteen percent of hearing aid users agree with this while 23% of those that were hearing impaired and not using hearing aids, agreed with it, about 36% of those with what could be categorized as severe hearing loss, agreed with the statement.
Since social isolation is a serious problem with seniors, the study also examined social behavior and found those who didn’t use hearing aids were considerably less likely to participate in social activities. Socializing is considered a key part of keeping the mind and body active.
Among respondents with what was considered the most severe hearing loss, only 32% said they regularly participated in social activities compared to 42% of hearing aid users. What researchers said was particularly groundbreaking about this survey was, in addition to the large sample, friends and family members of the respondents were asked a set of parallel questions.
Benefits of Treatment
Hearing aid users reported significant improvements in many areas of their lives including relationships at home as well as a sense of independence. In the majority of areas measured, the families of hearing aid users also noted significant improvements. They reported improvements in the areas of relations at home, feelings about self, life overall, relations with children and grandchildren, mental health, self-confidence, sense of safety, social life and relations at work.
Barriers to Hearing Aid Use
Why is there such a large pool of hearing impaired who don’t use hearing aids? The survey sought answers. More than two-thirds of the older, non-users said “my hearing isn’t bad enough” or “I can get along without one.” About half of the non-users cited the cost of hearing aids and one in five said, “It would make me feel old” or “I’m too embarrassed to wear one.”
At Active Hearing & Audiology, we don’t think anyone should be having less of a life experience because they don’t have or want hearing aids. The newer hearing aid models are discreet and barely noticeable and, since more and more people at a younger age are using them, that argument about feeling old doesn’t hold water. Call today and set up a hearing evaluation – feel better, hear better!