The regrettable reality is, as you age, your hearing begins to go. Approximately 38 million individuals in the U.S. suffer from some kind of hearing loss, though since hearing loss is expected as we get older, many decide to leave it unchecked. Neglecting hearing loss, however, can have major negative side effects on a person’s whole well-being beyond how well they hear.
Why do so many people decide to just live with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of seniors, a problem that’s minor and can be dealt with easily, while greater than half of the participants reported cost as a problem. The consequences of neglecting hearing loss, however, can become a great deal higher as a result of conditions and adverse reactions that come with leaving it untreated. What are the most common complications of ignoring hearing loss?
Most people will not immediately put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, instead, that they are slowing down because of the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. But actually, if you need to work extra hard to hear, it can deplete your physical resources. Remember how tired you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be totally focused on a task for prolonged periods of time. You would probably feel really drained when you’re done. The same thing takes place when you struggle to hear: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain has to work hard to substitute the missing information – which is often made even harder when there is a lot of background noise – and just attempting to process information consumes valuable energy. Taking care of yourself requires energy which you won’t have with this kind of chronic exhaustion. To adjust, you will avoid life-essential activities like working out or eating healthy.
Decline of Brain Function
Hearing loss has been linked, by numerous Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe brain functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these connections are correlations, not causations, it’s theorized by researchers that, once again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which uses up cognitive resources, the less you have to focus on other things including comprehension and memorization. And declining brain function, as we get older is, directly connected to an increased draw on our mental resources. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be lessened and mental wellness can be maintained by sustained exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. Fortunately, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the recognized link between mental decline and hearing loss to work together to undertake research and establish treatments that are encouraging in the near future.
Problems With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 seniors who suffered some form of hearing loss and found that individuals who neglected their condition were more likely to also suffer from mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their social and emotional well-being. The connection between hearing loss and mental health issues adds up since people who suffer from hearing loss often have difficulty communicating with others in family or social situations. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can ultimately result in depression. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can appear due to these feelings of solitude and exclusion. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you should talk to a mental health professional and you should also be aware that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some forms of depression.
If one portion of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops functioning correctly, it might have an impact on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. As a case in point, if blood flow from the heart to the inner ear is constrained, hearing loss may be the result. Diabetes, which is also linked to heart disease, can affect the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause information sent to the brain from the ear to become scrambled. Individuals who have noticed some amount of hearing loss and who have a history of heart disease or diabetes in their families should contact both a hearing and cardiac specialist to determine whether the hearing loss is actually caused by a heart condition, since ignoring the symptoms could lead to severe, possibly fatal repercussions.
If you suffer from hearing loss or are going through any of the adverse effects listed above, please contact us for a consultation so we can help you have a healthier life.