The Health Benefits of Hearing Aids
Hearing loss doesn’t just affect our ears.
A variety of studies has determined that hearing loss to often frightening health issues like falling injuries and dementia. Our hearing effects our sense of balance, which leads people with hearing loss to stumble and fall more easily when they lose their balance.
Other factors like social isolation also effects mental health. People with hearing loss are more likely to withdraw from social activities, leading to loneliness and depression.
Can hearing aids make you healthier?
The links between hearing loss and a host of health problems has prompted researchers to question how better hearing might protect people from dangerous hazards and health problems. We already know from research conducted in the 2000s that shows hearing aids improve overall quality of life, but what other things does it effect?
A 2019 study analyzed what happens in the first three years after people get their first hearing aid. It found that among people with newly-diagnosed hearing loss, getting a hearing aid cut the risk of developing dementia by 18 percentage points, the risk of a fall-related injury by 13 percentage points and the risk of developing anxiety or depression by 11 percentage points.
The 2019 study confirmed an earlier study which showed that people with hearing loss are 2% more likely to develop dementia, 4.5% more likely to suffer a serious fall, and 8.4% more likely to be depressed when compared to people in the general population ages 66 and older.
Other studies have shown that loneliness alone can increase the risk of dementia by as much as 40%, and researchers theorize that this might be due to a feedback loop in the brain caused by the combination of hearing loss making it harder to understand what a person hears and the brain facing a heavier burden as it tries to compensate for the loss of hearing, which places stress on other parts of the brain which effects mental health.
A different study from 2019 conducted in South Korea determined that Koreans newly diagnosed with hearing loss over a decade, hearing loss emerged as a significant risk factor for dementia most strongly in people ages 45 to 64. So it isn't just the elderly who can suffer from hearing loss induced dementia, but the middle aged as well.
However there is good news. Wearing hearing aids is one of the easiest and simplest ways for people to protect themselves from hearing loss and the accompanying health issues.
And hearing can also be improved. There is a different study which has shown that social interactions actually improve hearing.
Other Things Effected by Hearing Loss
Depression induced suicide.
Lack of exercise, increase/decrease in body weight, reduced bone density (making falls more likely to result in a broken hip, etc).
Loss of appetite, loss of body weight.
Increased chance of cardiovascular disease due to fluctuating weight.
33% higher rates of stroke, peripheral vascular disease and heart attack.
How are these things connected? Hearing is highly connected to social behaviours, and activities like eating with friends are effected. A person suffering from hearing loss is less likely to eat socially, more likely to eat alone. Likewise sports and similar exercise activities are often social activities. The changes in a person's exercise levels and eating habits thus effect their cardiovascular health, and in turn their chances of heart attack, stroke, and their overall longevity.
Hearing aids thus consquently improves a person's exercise routine, their diet, their mental health, their physical health, and their lifespan.
Earplugs Effective in preventing Hearing Loss after Loud Music
Funding Cuts to Hearing Impaired Schools
Hearing Aids boost Cognitive Function in Elderly
Hearing Loss hurts Quality of Life
Invisible Hearing Aids: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Modern Teenagers More At Risk from Hearing Loss
One in Ten Canadians Suffer from Tinnitus
Safe Listening Devices
Social Sounds improve Hearing
Speech and Hearing Awareness Month
World Hearing Day, March 3rd
Why You Should Get Your Hearing Tested