Hearing Health Blog

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

Having to visit the ER can be personally and financially costly. What if you could reduce your risk of falls, accidents, depression, anxiety, and even dementia while also preventing visits to the ER.

Using your hearing aid can be the difference between having an active healthy life and taking many trips to the ER, according to some new research.

The Research

This University of Michigan study assembled participants that ranged from 65-85. Each had significant hearing loss. But out of all of those who participated, only 45% of them used their hearing aids regularly.

This is on par with similar studies which have found that only around 30% of individuals who have hearing aids actually use them.

Of the 585 individuals in the group who did use their hearing aids, 12 fewer people ended up in the ER or non-elective hospital stay.

This may not seem like a very large number. But it’s statistically substantial.

And that’s not all. They also found 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 show up for their regular doctor’s appointments.

How Can Hearing Aids Reduce The Need For Emergency Care Visits?

First for the obvious one. If an individual is staying on top of their health, they’re more likely to stay out of ER.

Also, people who wear their hearing aids stay more socially involved. This can lead to both a greater drive to keep that doctor’s appointment and better access to services and help to get to appointments.

For those driving themselves, it means that they can drive more safely with less anxiety about what they’re not hearing.

One study carried out in the U.S. discovered that depression is twice as likely in people who don’t use their hearing aid. Health issues linked to lack of self care is often an outcome of depression.

Thirdly, numerous studies have shown that wearing your hearing aid can reduce fall risk and dementia. The part of the brain that’s responsible for hearing will start to decline from lack of use as hearing declines. Over time, this can extend through the brain. As this happens, people frequently experience dementia symptoms and the disorientation and lack of balance connected with falls.

Falls are one of the major causes of death among individuals over 65, and the consequent hospital stays last twice as long.

Hearing aids decrease 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 use them because they think that hearing aids make them look older than they are. This perception remains in spite of the fact that around 25% of people over 65 have significant hearing loss, and 50% of those 75 and older have it. Hearing loss is not uncommon. It’s common. Additionally, hearing loss is on the rise even with 20-year-olds because of earbuds and the increase in noise pollution.

Ironically, constantly asking people to repeat themselves often makes a person seem much older than they are.

Some people cite the costs of hearing aids. However, financing is possible for hearing aids and prices have come down in the last few years.

Lastly, some don’t enjoy 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 can require multiple fittings before they are just right.

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

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