Are you surprised to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the means of hearing, so the damage done to them because of aging, trauma or disease is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there’s more to it than that The loss of a person’s hearing bleeds into a number of other facets of their life. It’s a dramatic change for somebody who has always been able to hear. Consider some ways that hearing loss has a significant effect on more than just the ears.
A 2006 report published by the Australian company Access Economics states there’s a connection between earning potential and hearing. They discovered that an individual with hearing loss could possibly make about 25 percent less than the ones that do listen, but why?
There are a lot of things that could affect earnings. Someone who works without any hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid may miss out on weighty information. They might show up for a business meeting at 4 when it was actually at 2 pm, for example. Managers tend to appreciate those with keen attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can’t hear the details.
Working environments can be noisy and chaotic, too. A individual with hearing loss can become confused with that noise around them. They will struggle to speak on the telephone, to listen to customers and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a loud environment the background sounds like clacking keyboards or an air conditioner vent become conspicuous.
Some of the same problems at work become an issue at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, particularly when the individual with the problem continues to deny it. Little things like saying “what” a lot during conversations and turning the TV up too loud irritate friends, family members, and spouses.
They may try to intervene and encourage this person to recognize their hearing loss, which leads to friction, also. It is extremely common for someone with hearing loss to sequester themselves and refuse to go out and spend some time with others. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so they so what the can to avoid them.
Mental Health Concerns
The issues at work and home take a toll on mental health over time. A 2014 study conducted by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders found a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and melancholy. Their study indicates an increased risk of depression, especially among girls and people under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to approximately 11 percent with hearing loss.
A second study from the Senior Research Group suggests that the chance of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a individual with hearing loss does not use hearing aids. The study participants who did not wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of despair to sudden fits of anger more often than those that did wear them.
Security is always an issue for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, while it is a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alert, work based on sound. They exude a high-frequency noise if there’s a danger. Even people with minor hearing loss can have difficulty hearing high pitched tones.
Personal security becomes an issue when a individual with hearing loss crosses the road or drives a car, too. Sound serves to signal problems like a car coming down the road or a horn honking.
Medical science has made a connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss. It’s not clear why people with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The current theory is that the mind struggles to hear and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like memory.
A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that even someone with minor hearing loss is twice as likely to develop dementia. Moderate hearing loss increases the risk by three times and a person with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Hearing health is just 1 factor in memory loss conditions, but it’s an important one.
When a person has hearing loss, it’s true there is probably something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it starts. The good news is that getting help in the form of hearing aids and other treatment choices lowers the chance of mental health issues, dementia and the different issues related to hearing decline.