The unfortunate truth is, as you age, your hearing starts to fail. Roughly 38 million individuals cope with hearing loss in the United States, but many people decide to dismiss it because they consider it as just a part of getting older. But beyond the ability to hear, ignoring hearing loss can have serious negative side effects.
Why is the decision to simply live with hearing loss one that many people choose? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of senior citizens, an issue that’s minor and can be handled easily, while price was a worry 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 conditions that are brought about by ignoring hearing loss. Here are the most prevalent adverse effects of neglecting hearing loss.
Most people won’t instantly 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 in reality, if you have to work extra hard to hear, it can drain your physical resources. Remember how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain had to be totally focused on a task for long time periods. Once you’re done, you likely feel drained. The same situation occurs when you struggle to hear: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain needs to work extra hard to substitute the missing information – which, when there is too much background noise, is even harder – and just attempting to process information consumes precious energy. Looking after yourself takes energy that you won’t have with this kind of chronic fatigue. To adapt, you will skip life-essential activities like working out or eating healthy.
A number of studies conducted by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to diminishe brain functions , accelerated loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these links are correlations, instead of causations, it’s believed by researchers that, again, the more mental resources that are spent attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you have to focus on other things like comprehension and memorization. And as people get older, the increased draw on cognitive resources can speed up the decline of other brain functions and worsen gray matter loss. Additionally, having a regular exchange of information and ideas, often through conversation, is believed to help seniors remain mentally fit and can help slow the process of cognitive decline. Fortunately, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the known connection between mental decline and hearing loss to work together to undertake research and develop treatments that are promising in the near future.
Problems With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging performed a study of 2,300 senior citizens who suffered some form of hearing loss and discovered that individuals who neglected their condition were more likely to also be dealing with mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their emotional and social well-being. It is obvious that there’s a connection between hearing loss and mental health problems since people with hearing loss often have difficulty communicating with other people in family or social situations. This can result in feelings of isolation, which can ultimately result in depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if left untreated. Hearing aids have been shown to aid in the recovery from depression, though anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should talk to a mental health professional.
Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one component stops functioning like it is supposed to, it might have a detrimental affect on another seemingly unrelated part. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. Case in point, hearing loss will occur when blood does not easily flow from the heart to the inner ear. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can affect the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause information sent from the ear to the brain to become scrambled. If heart disease is ignored severe or even possibly fatal repercussions can happen. So if you’ve noticed some hearing loss and have a history of heart disease or heart disease in your family you should seek advice from both a hearing and a cardiac specialist so that you can determine whether your hearing loss is linked to a heart condition.
If you deal with hearing loss or are experiencing any of the adverse repercussions listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you have a healthier life.