Aug 7, 2015 01:00 PM
About one-third of American adults between the ages of 65 and 75 have some degree of hearing loss, while for those who are even older, that number rises to nearly one in two, the Mayo Clinic notes. A new study suggests hearing loss — or hearing less — is under-treated despite evidence that the latest generation of hearing aids may help to lessen depression and anxiety while also improving mental functioning.
“Anger, frustration, depression and anxiety are all common among people who find themselves hard of hearing,” Dr. David Myers, a psychology professor at Hope College in Michigan, stated in a press release. “Getting people to use the latest in hearing aid technology can help them regain control of their life and achieve emotional stability and even better cognitive functioning.”
Heredity and chronic exposure to loud noises are the main factors that contribute to hearing loss, scientists say. While people commonly fear excessive earwax might contribute to their hearing loss, it usually does so only temporarily. A 2011 study investigated hearing loss and its relationship to dementia and found the risk of all-cause dementia increased with hearing loss severity. Since social isolation has been linked to dementia (and other cognitive disorders), this result makes intuitive sense.