Hearing loss makes you more vulnerable to experiencing depression, anxiety, fall and dementia. Another way hearing loss makes you vulnerable is to financial scams. This link was established by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. In this post, we review more about the study, why the connection and how you can stay financially safe.
What the Research Shows
In this 2020 study, the researchers worked with 37 adults over the age of 50 who were from Los Angeles. All of the participants were highly educated and cognitively healthy. They were split into groups based on whether they had experienced a financial scam or not. Twenty-four had been and 13 had not.
Each participant was surveyed about three types of frailty:
- Including poor hearing or vision
- Including feeling down, nervous or anxious
- Including whether or not they lived alone
The research team found that those who had been financially exploited had greater rates of physical frailty, including significantly poorer hearing and marginally poorer vision.
Why the Connection?
Professor Duke Han of the Keck School of Medicine reports that scammers, “put a stress on being able to see and hear things accurately.” So, if you have hearing loss, you’re more likely to miss critical details during these interactions.
Also, hearing loss has been linked with a dramatic increased risk of cognitive decline. Research by Johns Hopkins found, “Compared with volunteers with normal hearing, those with mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss had twofold, threefold, and fivefold, respectively, the risk of developing dementia over time.”
If you have cognitive decline and hearing loss, you’re at even greater risk of being financially scammed. Signs of cognitive decline include trouble remembering, learning, concentrating and making decisions.
How You Can Stay Financially Safe
“We want older adults to enjoy the wealth that they’ve accumulated over their life. We want older adults to enjoy the fruits of their labor — and not be taken advantage of,” said Professor Han.
In most cases, hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids. They work by amplifying sounds to a level you can easily hear, even in complex listening environments like activities at any Georgetown seniors program.
To learn more about hearing loss or to schedule an appointment, call Hill Country Audiology today.