It’s a regrettable truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Roughly 38 million individuals in the United States suffer from some kind of hearing loss, but because hearing loss is anticipated as we age, many people decide to leave it unchecked. Ignoring hearing loss, however, can have serious negative side effects on a person’s over-all well-being beyond their inability to hear.
Why do many people choose to simply accept hearing loss? Based on an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor concern that can be dealt with fairly easily, while cost was a worry for more than half of people who took part in the study. But, those costs can go up incredibly when you factor in the significant adverse reactions and conditions that are brought about by ignoring hearing loss. Here are the most likely adverse effects of ignoring hearing loss.
The dots will not be connected by most people from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, instead, that they are slowing down due to the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. The fact is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body struggles to make up for it, leaving you feeling exhausted. Recall how tired you were at times in your life when your brain had to be completely concentrated on a task for long periods of time. Once you’re finished, you likely feel drained. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent scenario: when there are blanks spots in conversation, your brain needs to work extra hard to fill in the missing information – which, when there’s too much background noise, is even more difficult – and just trying to process information uses valuable energy. Looking after yourself requires energy that you won’t have with this kind of chronic fatigue. To adapt, you will avoid life-essential routines such as working out or eating healthy.
Several studies by Johns Hopkins University connected hearing loss to reduced brain functions , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these connections are correlations, instead of causations, researchers believe that, once again, the more mental resources that are spent trying to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you have to focus on other things like comprehension and memorization. And declining brain function, as we get older is, directly linked to an increased draw on our cognitive resources. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be lessened and mental wellness can be maintained by sustained exchange of ideas, usually through conversation. Luckily, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the known connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss to work together to carry out research and develop treatments that are encouraging in the near future.
Concerns With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of over two thousand seniors, that mental health problems that have a negative social and emotional impact, are more common if there is also untreated hearing loss. The connection between hearing loss and mental health issues seems logical since people with hearing loss frequently have a hard time communicating with other people in social or family situations. Ultimately, feelings of separation could develop into depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if left untreated. Hearing aids have been shown to aid in the recovery from depression, though anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should consult with a mental health professional.
Our bodies are one coordinated machine – if one part stops working like it is supposed to, it may have a detrimental impact on another apparently unrelated part. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will occur when blood doesn’t easily flow from the heart to the inner ear. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can affect the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause information sent from the ear to the brain to get scrambled. If heart disease is disregarded serious or even potentially fatal consequences can happen. So if you have noticed some hearing loss and have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should seek advice from both a hearing and a cardiac specialist in order to figure out whether your hearing loss is linked to a heart condition.
If you suffer from hearing loss or are going through any of the negative effects listed above, please contact us for a consultation so we can help you live a healthier life.