Did you know that about 25% of those over the age of 65 lack social contact with others? The number is even higher in those who have hearing loss.
Seniors with untreated hearing loss can become frustrated when trying to hear and understand in noisy situations. As a result, they begin avoiding activities, people and places they once enjoyed. They may talk to their spouse less. One study found that people with untreated hearing loss are significantly less likely to participate in social activities than those who use hearing aids.
Loneliness and social isolation can lead to serious health problems, including:
- Heart disease
Untreated hearing loss has been linked with an increased risk of depression. This connection makes sense as hearing loss can make communicating difficult, which in turn can lead to social isolation, stress and fatigue.
One study by the National Council on Aging looked at more than 2,300 people and found that those with hearing loss were 50% more likely to experience feelings of sadness and depression. A 2014 study conducted by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders determined that more than 11% of people with hearing loss also had depression as compared to only five percent in the general population.
One of the best ways to protect your mental health is to treat your hearing loss. And for most of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, the best treatment is the use of hearing aids.
The National Council on Aging surveyed over 4,000 people with hearing loss. They found that people who wore hearing aids reported lower levels of depression, greater emotional stability, and their families reported that they were less likely to become angry or frustrated. Overall, respondents who wore hearing aids felt that they had more control over their lives and a more positive outlook in general.
People with hearing loss often report that they haven’t heard soft sounds like birds chirping or the waves in the ocean. Wearing hearing aids to treat your hearing loss means you’ll start hearing all kinds of sounds, including the sounds of nature which are relaxing and can relieve stress.
Research shows that positive, active social relationships positively impact your health. After people start wearing hearing aids, they can be part of the conversation again and avoid the negative effects of social isolation and loneliness.
Contact the audiology team at Precision Hearing to learn more about the connection between hearing and mental health or to schedule an appointment today. You can call them at 352-765-8008 or find them online at www.FixYourHearing.com.