Separate study investigations suggest that hearing loss may not only cause physical and functional impairments but psychological and cognitive problems as well.

According to a presentation at the American Psychological Association's 123rd Annual Convention, experts said that hearing loss is still considered undertreated even with the availability of hearing aids that can effectively alleviate depression, anxiety and cognitive problems among patients.

Patients who utilize hearing aid devices are more likely to cooperate in frequent social activities compared to those who do not use aids, says David Myers, PhD, a psychology professor and textbook writer at Hope College in Michigan, citing the results of a study by the National Council on Aging. The research, composed of 2,304 study subjects, also suggests that the percentage risk of non-hearing aid users to develop depression or to feel sadness is 50 percent more than the users.

"Many hard of hearing people battle silently with their invisible hearing difficulties, straining to stay connected to the world around them, reluctant to seek help," confirms Myers, who also suffers from hearing loss.

Patients commonly become angry, frustrated and anxious when they find themselves having difficulties of hearing, says Myers. Encouraging them and successfully making them utilize hearing aid technologies can help them take back their control of their life and achieve improvement in emotional and cognitive health.

Myers did not use a hearing aid until he was in his 40s. He was diagnosed of hearing loss due to a genetic condition when he was a teenager. He admits to resisting these technologies, just like most people who have a hard time hearing. As per the National Center for Health Statistics, people usually wait for approximately six years before seeking treatment for hearing loss. The survey also shows that adults aged 20-69 years old are 50 percent less likely than those aged 70 years and above to turn to hearing aids. The reasons for such delay include lack of information regarding the positive effects of hearing aids, denial and vanity.

Aside from the psychological effects, hearing loss may also cause cognitive problems such as dementia. According to a study published in the Archives of Neurology in 2011, hearing loss was deemed as a risk factor for dementia as sensory loss made the participants more prone to develop the said cognitive decline. Aside from the physical mechanisms of hearing loss that can lead to dementia, the social isolation that comes along with it was said to play a role.

With this, Myers stressed the importance of using hearing aids to help patients cope better. "Making public spaces directly hearing aid accessible is psychologically important for people with hearing loss," he closed.

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