During the holiday season, we’re reminded of the importance of family and friends in our lives, and how valuable these relationships are to us. But you don’t have to take my word for it. There’s solid scientific evidence that relationships are good for us, and our health.
According to the National Institutes of Health, many studies have shown that individuals with the lowest level of involvement in social relationships are more likely to have shorter life spans than those with greater involvement. Strong social ties also can reduce the risk of medical conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
The lack of positive social relationships is often related to depression, which has frequently been linked to unaddressed hearing loss. In fact, depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide and is expected to be the largest contributor to the disease burden by 2030 (World Health Organization, 2008).
The role of untreated hearing loss in depression was demonstrated in a large-scale study by the National Council on Aging. This study found that people 50 years and older with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, emotional instability and paranoia, and were less likely to participate in social activities. The degree of depression and other emotional or mental health issues also increased with the severity of hearing loss.
Based on the patients I see, the conclusions are accurate. Individuals who do something about their hearing by utilizing hearing aids are more likely to have satisfying relationships, are less likely to be depressed, and are more likely to live a healthy lifestyle.
Don’t miss out on life’s most important relationships over the holidays and throughout the new year. Have your hearing evaluated and find out if an undiagnosed hearing loss is keeping you from living a long, healthy and fulfilling life!