It’s an unfortunate truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Roughly 38 million individuals suffer from hearing loss in the United States, though many choose to ignore it because they consider it as just a part of aging. But beyond the ability to hear, disregarding hearing loss will have severe adverse side effects.
Why do so many people choose to simply deal with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of seniors, a problem that’s minimal and can be dealt with easily, while greater than half of the participants reported cost as a concern. However, those costs can rise incredibly when you factor in the serious adverse reactions and conditions that are triggered by ignoring hearing loss. Here are the most prevalent adverse consequences of ignoring hearing loss.
Most people will not instantly connect the dots 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 have to work harder to hear, it can drain your physical resources. Recall how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain had to be totally focused on a task for long time periods. You would probably feel fairly depleted after you’re finished. When you are struggling to hear, it’s a similar situation: your brain is trying to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there is enough background noise, is even more difficult – and just attempting to process information consumes precious energy. This type of chronic tiredness can impact your health by leaving you too tired to care for yourself, skipping out on things like working out or cooking wholesome meals.
Decline of Cognitive Function
Several studies by Johns Hopkins University connected hearing loss to decreased brain functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. Although these associations are not causation, they’re correlations, it’s theorized by researchers that, once again, the more often you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which uses up mental resources, the less there are to focus on other things including memorization and comprehension. And as people get older, the increased draw on cognitive resources can accelerate the decline of other brain functions and can lead to gray matter loss. On top of that, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be slowed and mental fitness can be preserved by sustained exchange of ideas, usually through conversation. Fortunately, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the recognized connection between mental decline and hearing loss to collaborate to undertake research and develop treatments that are encouraging in the near future.
Issues With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging performed a study of 2,300 seniors who suffered some form of hearing loss and found that people who neglected their condition were more likely to also be dealing with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their social and emotional well-being. It is obvious that there is a connection between mental health and hearing loss problems since people who suffer from hearing loss often have a hard time communicating with others in family or social situations. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can eventually result in depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can worsen to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. Hearing aids have been shown to aid in the recovery from depression, although anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should talk to a mental health professional.
Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one part stops functioning like it should, it could have a detrimental affect on another apparently unrelated part. This is the situation 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 occur. Another affliction linked to heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and sometimes causes the brain to get scrambled signals. If heart disease is disregarded severe or even potentially fatal consequences can happen. So if you’ve detected some hearing loss and have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should contact both a hearing and a cardiac specialist so that you can figure out whether your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.
If you have hearing loss or are experiencing any of the negative repercussions listed above, please reach out to us so we can help you have a healthier life.