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How Wearing Hearing Aids Positively Affects Your Mental Health
If you already wear hearing aids, you know the kinds of benefits they give you. Hearing aids have most likely made it easier to have conversations with your friends and family—especially when you’re out at restaurants or in a group.
But hearing aids do much more than enrich your social life. They may actually have a profound impact on your brain by keeping you mentally sharp, lowering your risk of depression, and improving your balance.
If you already wear hearing aids all the time, pat yourself on the back; you may already be improving your brain function! If you only wear them occasionally (or rarely), here are four facts—backed by medical studies—that may encourage you to wear them more often.
1) Hearing Aids May Lower Your Risk of Age-related Cognitive Decline
In this 25-year study, scientists measured mental decline in people with hearing loss and people with normal hearing. The study found that people who had hearing loss—and chose not to wear hearing aids—showed significant mental decline compared to people with normal hearing. However, people with hearing loss who wore hearing aids performed the same on cognitive tests as people without any hearing loss! Want to stay sharp as you age? Keep wearing those hearing aids.
2) Hearing Aids Can Improve Memory and Mental Acuity
A recent study from Texas A&M University tested a group of people with hearing loss on a series of tasks to measure their memory, ability to focus, and the speed at which they process information. Then they gave the participants hearing aids. After only six weeks of wearing hearing aids, participants saw improvements in all areas of cognitive function. They could remember things better, focus better, and showed they were processing information faster than before. Not only can hearing aids keep you mentally sharp, but having better memory and focus as well as faster mental processing actually makes you seem younger to the people you interact with every day!
3) People Who Wear Hearing Aids Report Lower Levels of Depression
The National Council on Aging surveyed over 4,000 people with hearing loss, both with and without hearing aids. Among a myriad of findings, they discovered that people who chose to wear hearing aids reported lower levels of depression and showed fewer outward signs of being depressed. They also found that people with hearing aids showed 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. To stay positive and happy, make sure you’re wearing your hearing aids.
4) Hearing Aids Improve Balance and May Reduce the Risk of Falling for People Over 65
Although hearing loss has long been associated with an increased risk of falls in older adults, researchers at The Washington University School of Medicine found that, people with hearing loss performed better on balance tests and were less likely to fall when they wore hearing aids. Having better balance with hearing aids means a reduced chance of major injuries and a lower risk of expensive hospitalizations.
Do you want to experience better brain function, lower your risk of depression and mental decline, and be at lower risk of falling? Wearing your hearing aids more often can help. As a side benefit, the families of people who have hearing loss report that those who wear hearing aids participate more in social activities and have better relationships with the people they love as a result—creating a higher quality of life overall.
Because May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, this is the perfect time to increase your awareness of hearing loss issues and the benefits of hearing aids. We encourage you not only to wear your hearing aids more often for your own benefit but to also pass this information on to family and friends who haven’t yet addressed their hearing loss and encourage them to get it checked out.
Let’s help everyone improve their lives and long-term health by treating hearing loss today!