It’s a regrettable truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Roughly 38 million people in the United States deal with some form of hearing loss, though because hearing loss is expected as we age, many people choose to ignore it. Ignoring hearing loss, however, can have major adverse side effects on a person’s over-all well-being beyond their inability to hear.
Why do many people decide to just accept hearing loss? Based on an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens think of hearing loss as a minor concern that can be handled fairly easily, while cost was a concern for more than half of those who participated in the study. But, those costs can increase astronomically when you take into account the significant side effects and ailments that are triggered by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most prevalent adverse effects of ignoring hearing loss.
The majority of people will not instantly put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will blame their fatigue on countless different ideas, such as slowing down due to aging or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you can hear, the more your body struggles to make up for it, leaving you feeling exhausted. Recall how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain had to be completely focused on a task for long time periods. You would probably feel really drained when you’re done. The same thing happens when you struggle to hear: your brain is working to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which is often made even more difficult when there is lots of background noise – and uses up valuable energy just attempting to process the conversation. Taking care of yourself takes energy that you won’t have with this kind of chronic fatigue. To adjust, you will avoid life-essential activities such as working out or eating healthy.
Decline of Brain Function
Countless studies conducted by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to decreased brain functions , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. Although these associations are not causation, they’re correlations, scientists believe that, once again, the more mental resources that are used attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to focus on other things like comprehension and memorization. And decreasing brain function, as we get older is, directly connected to an additional draw on our cognitive resources. Besides that, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be slowed 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 collaborate to undertake research and establish treatments that are encouraging in the near future.
Mental Health Issues
The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 senior citizens who were dealing with some form of hearing loss and found that those who neglected their condition were more likely to also suffer from mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their social and emotional happiness. The connection between mental health issues and hearing loss adds up since, in social and family situations, people who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time interacting with others. This can lead to feelings of separation, which can eventually lead to depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you need to contact a mental health professional and you also should be aware that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some forms of depression.
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 case with our hearts and ears. As a case in point, if blood flow from the heart to the inner ear is restricted, 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 get scrambled. Individuals who have noticed some amount of hearing loss and who have a history of heart disease or diabetes in their families should consult with both a hearing and cardiac specialist to figure out whether the hearing loss is indeed caused by a heart condition, since neglecting the symptoms could lead to serious, possibly fatal consequences.
If you suffer from hearing loss or are going through any of the negative effects listed above, please reach out to us so we can help you have a healthier life.