For people living with untreated hearing loss, it can already feel isolating in ‘regular’ daily life without the addition of social isolation. This is especially true for people aged 65+ who have retired and are living with moderate to severe untreated hearing loss.
The Science Behind Untreated Hearing Loss
According to a new study by The National Council on the Aging (NCOA), “Untreated hearing loss has serious emotional and social consequences for older persons,” says James Firman, EdD, President and CEO of The National Council on the Aging who goes on to explain that “this study debunks the myth that untreated hearing loss in older persons is a harmless condition. The survey of 2,300 hearing impaired adults age 50+ found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids.”
If you are a caregiver or have a friend or loved one who is living with moderate to severe untreated hearing loss, it’s important to know the signs of depression.
The following signs could help you determine if someone is at risk of developing depression due to hearing loss or already has it, including:
- Loss of interest in things they once found enjoyable
- Expressing emotions such as sadness, emptiness, consistent anger or moodiness, or an inability to feel at all
- Irritability and frustration from not being able to understand the people around them
- Feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
- Openly expressing or insinuating suicidal thoughts
Benefits of Wearing Hearing Aids
The study from NCOA further showed that “hearing aid users reported significant improvements in many areas of their lives, ranging from their relationships at home and sense of independence to their social life and their sex life. In virtually every dimension measured [through the study], the families of hearing aid users also noted the improvements but were even more likely than the users to report improvements.”
What many people living with untreated hearing loss do not understand is that we hear with our brains. Over time, as we lose hearing function, we also lose the ability to hear and identify certain sounds. Depending on the severity of hearing loss, such a loss can cause slower cognitive processing and encourage the early onset of Dementia.
“It is very sad that millions of older people are letting denial or vanity get in the way of treatments that can significantly improve the quality of their lives,” said Dr. Firman, who is hearing impaired himself, “doctors and family members should insist that hearing impaired seniors seek appropriate treatment.”
Luckily, there are ways to improve this situation, it’s the use of hearing aids. Hearing aids have been proved to counter cognitive decline in people with hearing loss.
Taking the First Step Toward Hearing Loss Help
The first step is the hardest and that is accepting that you could have a hearing loss problem. Physicians Hearing Solutions is here to help you walk through the hearing loss healthcare process step-by-step. Once our offices are open again, we’ll be scheduling free hearing screenings daily. Once a hearing screening is performed, we’ll be able to tell you what kind of hearing health you are living with.
Knowing if you have hearing loss is the hardest part. Once our Audiologists and National Board-Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist evaluate your hearing capabilities, the team will be able to customize a personalized hearing healthcare plan to suit your specific hearing loss. Call our team to schedule your free hearing screening (401) 921-0181. www.PHSDOCS.com