Untreated hearing loss leads to increased visits to the emergency room.

Having to go to the ER can be financially and personally costly. What if you could prevent ER visits and substantially decrease your risk of anxiety, depression, and even cognitive decline.

Surfacing studies make the case that, for people with serious hearing loss, using their hearing aid could be the difference between staying involved and healthy and winding up spending many nights in the emergency room.

The Study

Participants between the ages of 65 and 85 participated in a University of Michigan study. Extreme hearing loss was a widespread condition between them. But only 45% of the participants wore their hearing aids on a regular basis.

Other researchers have also shown that hearing aids were used regularly by only 30% of individuals who had them.

12 fewer, of the 585 people who did use their hearing aid, had Er visits or unplanned hospitalizations.

This might not seem like a very large number. But statistically, this is substantial.

And there’s more. They also discovered that one day fewer, on average, was spent in the hospital for people who wore their hearing aids. Their time at the ER was probably decreased because they were more likely to keep their regular doctor’s appointments.

How Can ER Visits be Decreased by Using Hearing Aids?

The first one is obvious. If a person is staying on top of their health, they’re more likely to stay away from ER.

Other research has shown that when individuals with hearing loss wear their hearing aids, they stay more connected to friends, family, and the community. This can bring about both a stronger drive to keep that doctor’s appointment and better access to services and help to get to appointments.

And driving is safer when you can hear, so you will be more confident if you are getting yourself to your appointment.

Additionally, a U.S. study found that those with hearing loss who don’t use their hearing aid are two times as likely to be depressed. Depression can result in a lack of self-care, which can lead to health problems.

Thirdly, various studies have revealed that using your hearing aid can reduce the risk of falling and dementia. The part of the brain that’s used for hearing will start to decline from lack of use as hearing declines. The rest of the brain is ultimately impacted. The disorientation related to falls and symptoms of dementia are commonly the result.

Falls are one of the leading causes of death among those over 65, and the resulting hospitalizations last twice as long.

Hearing aids reduce visits to the ER for these reasons amongst others.

Why do so Many Individuals Neglect Wearing Hearing Aids?

There’s really no good reason.

Some people don’t wear them because they think that hearing aids make them seem older than they actually are. This perception persists in spite of the fact that about 25% of people over 65 have significant hearing loss, and 50% of those 75 and above have it. Hearing loss isn’t uncommon. It’s common. Plus, hearing loss is increasing even with 20-year-olds thanks to earbuds and the increase in noise pollution.

Ironically, continuously asking people to repeat what they said often makes a person appear much older than they are.

Cost is frequently cited as a concern. However, financing is possible for hearing aids and costs have come down in the past few years.

Lastly, some don’t like the hearing experience with their hearing aid. In this case, your hearing specialist can help you understand what settings work best in different circumstances. Hearing aids don’t always fit and sound perfect on the first fitting and sometimes need a number of tries.

If something is stopping you from using your hearing aid, it’s time to make an appointment with your hearing specialist.

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