Washington, D.C., October 3, 2014 — The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is raising awareness of the link between unaddressed hearing loss and depression, and is urging adults of all ages to get their hearing tested to help protect their mental health. BHI’s efforts come in support of World Mental Health Day on October 10. People with hearing loss who use hearing aids often have fewer depressive symptoms, greater social engagement, and improved quality of life, studies show.
To help people determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional, BHI is offering a free, quick, and confidential online hearing check at www.BetterHearing.org. Today, more than 5 percent of the world’s population—360 million people—has disabling hearing loss. ( http://ow.ly/C5fOx)
Hearing loss affects people of all ages. And so do the associated emotional and mental health issues that can come with leaving hearing loss unaddressed. A 2014 study, in fact, showed that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults of all ages, but is most pronounced in 18 to 69 year olds. ( http://ow.ly/ vvZEz)
Another study, conducted in Italy, looked at working adults—35 to 55 years of age—with untreated mild to moderate age-related hearing loss and found that they were more prone to depression, anxiety, and interpersonal sensitivity than those with no hearing problems. ( http://ow.ly/CaAc8)
The good news is that for the vast majority of people with hearing loss, hearing aids can help. Research shows that the use of hearing aids can help reduce depressive symptoms. And eight out of 10 hearing aid users say they’re satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives due to their hearing aids. ( http://ow.ly/Cdzbn) ( http://ow.ly/CdyXm)
For more information on hearing loss—and to take a free, quick, and confidential online hearing check to determine if you need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing care professional—visit www.BetterHearing.org.
5 Mental Health-Minded Reasons to Get Your Hearing Tested
There’s a lot more to hearing loss than just sound. Getting a hearing test and using professionally fitted hearing aids—when recommended by a hearing healthcare professional—is an important way for people with hearing loss to safeguard their mental health and quality of life. Here’s why:
(1) Ignoring hearing loss hurts quality of life. Research shows that when left unaddressed, hearing loss is frequently associated with other physical, mental, and emotional health issues that diminish quality of life. Depression, withdrawal from social situations, a lessened ability to cope, and reduced overall psychological health are just some of the conditions associated with unaddressed hearing loss.
(2) Addressing hearing loss boosts mood. People with untreated hearing loss often feel angry, frustrated, anxious, isolated, and depressed. But research shows that when they use hearing aids, their mental health often rallies. Many regain emotional stability, become more socially engaged, feel a greater sense of safety and independence, and see a general improvement in their overall quality of life.
(3) Using hearing aids can help bolster self-confidence. Research shows that when people with hearing loss use hearing aids, many feel more in control of their lives and less self-critical. One BHI study found that the majority of people with mild and severe hearing loss felt better about themselves and life overall as a result of using hearing aids.
(4) Good communication enriches relationships and social support. Healthy relationships rest largely on good communication. In one BHI study, nearly 7 out of 10 participants reported improvements in their ability to communicate effectively in most situations because of their hearing aid use. More than half said using hearing aids improved their relationships at home, their social lives, and their ability to join in groups. Many even saw improvements in their romance.
(5) Today’s hearing aids are better than ever and virtually invisible. Dramatic new technological advances have revolutionized hearing aids in recent years. Many are virtually invisible, sitting discreetly and comfortably inside the ear canal. Some are even waterproof or rechargeable. Best of all, they’re wireless. That means they’re able to stream sound from smartphones, home entertainment systems, and other electronics directly into your hearing aid(s) at volumes just right for you. Simply, today’s hearing aids help people of all ages maintain active, healthy lifestyles.
For more information on hearing loss and to take the BHI Hearing Check, visit www.BetterHearing.org. Follow BHI on Twitter @better_hearing, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/betterhearinginstitute.