It’s a regrettable fact of life that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Approximately 38 million people cope with hearing loss in the U . S ., but many decide to disregard it because they consider it as just a part of getting older. Ignoring hearing loss, though, can have major negative side effects on a person’s over-all well-being beyond their inability to hear.
Why do so many people decide to just accept hearing loss? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of seniors, an issue that is minor and can be managed easily, while more than half of the respondents cited cost as a concern. However, those costs can increase astronomically when you factor in the serious side effects and ailments that are brought on by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most likely negative consequences of neglecting hearing loss.
The majority of people will not immediately put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will attribute fatigue to several different factors, such as slowing down because of aging or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you can hear, the more your body struggles to compensate for it, leaving you feeling exhausted. Imagine you are taking a test like the SAT where your brain is entirely focused on processing the task at hand. You would most likely feel really depleted when you’re done. When you are struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent situation: your brain is trying to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there is too much background noise, is even harder – and consumes valuable energy just trying to manage 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 routines like working out or eating healthy.
Countless studies by Johns Hopkins University connected hearing loss to reduced cognitive functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. Although these associations are not causation, they’re correlations, scientists think that, once again, the more mental resources that are spent trying to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to give attention to other things including memorization and comprehension. And decreasing brain function, as we get older is, directly connected to an additional draw on our mental resources. Besides that, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be slowed and mental fitness can be maintained by sustained exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. The fact that a connection between cognitive function and hearing loss was found is encouraging for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can collaborate to pinpoint the factors and develop treatment options for these conditions.
Mental Health Problems
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 affect, are more prevalent if there is also neglected hearing loss. It is obvious that there’s a link between mental health and hearing loss problems since, in social and family situations, individuals who suffer from hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others. Eventually, feelings of separation could become depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. Hearing aids have been proven to help in the recovery from depression, although anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should contact a mental health professional.
If one portion of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops functioning correctly, it could have an impact on seemingly unrelated bodily functions. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. Case in point, hearing loss will happen when blood does not easily flow from the heart to the inner ear. Another affliction associated with heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and can cause the brain to get scrambled signals. Individuals who have noticed some degree of hearing loss and who have a history of diabetes or heart disease in their families should consult with 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 consequences.
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.