Hearing loss depicted as a problem that compounds by showing several cutout men toppled over on one man.

Are you taken aback to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the method of hearing, so the harm done to them because of aging, injury or illness is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there’s more to it than the loss of one’s hearing bleeds into many other facets of their life. It is a dramatic change for somebody who has always been able to hear. Consider some ways that hearing loss has a profound effect on more than just the ears.

Earning Capability

A 2006 report published by the Australian firm Access Economics states there’s a link between salary potential and hearing. They found that an individual with hearing loss will possibly make about 25 percent less than those that do listen, but why?

There are a lot of things that could impact earnings. Somebody who works with no hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid might miss out on serious material. They may appear for a company meeting at 4 if it was really at 2 pm, for example. Managers tend to value those with shrewd attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can’t hear the details.

Work environments can be loud and crazy, too. A person with hearing loss can become confused with all that sound around them. They will struggle to talk on the telephone, to listen to customers and to understand what coworkers are saying because in a loud environment the background sounds like clacking keyboards or an air conditioner engine become pronounced.

Relationships

Some of the same problems at work become a problem at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, especially 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, relatives, and spouses.

They may attempt to intervene and encourage this individual to recognize their hearing loss, and that 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 research suggests an increased risk of depression, especially among women and individuals under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to about 11 percent with hearing loss.

A second study by the Senior Research Group indicates that the chance of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a individual with hearing loss does not use hearing aids. The study participants who didn’t wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of despair to sudden fits of anger more often than those that did wear them.

Safety Issues

Safety is always a concern for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, whether it is a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alarm, work based on sound. They exude a high-frequency noise if there’s a danger. Even people with minor hearing loss can have trouble hearing high pitched tones.

Personal security becomes an issue when a person with hearing loss spans the street or drives a car, too. Sound serves to indicate problems like a car coming down the road or a horn honking.

Cognitive Functioning

Medical science has made a link between cognitive decline and hearing loss. It isn’t clear why people with hearing loss have a higher risk of dementia. The current theory is that the brain struggles to listen and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like short-term memory.

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that even a person with minor hearing loss is twice as likely to develop dementia. Moderate hearing loss increases the risk by three times and an individual with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Hearing health is just one factor in memory loss conditions, but it’s an important one.

When a person has hearing loss, it is true there’s probably something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it begins. The fantastic news is that getting help in the form of hearing aids and other treatment choices reduces the chance of mental health issues, dementia and the various issues related to hearing decline.

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