It’s an unfortunate truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Approximately 38 million individuals in the U.S. deal with some kind of hearing loss, though since hearing loss is expected as we age, many decide to just deal with it. Ignoring hearing loss, however, can have significant adverse side effects on a person’s general well-being beyond how well they hear.
Why is the choice to just live with hearing loss one that lots of people consider? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens think of hearing loss as a minor problem that can be managed easily enough, while price was a concern for more than half of those who participated in the study. The consequences of ignoring hearing loss, however, can become a great deal higher due to complications and side effects that come with leaving it untreated. Here are the most prevalent adverse consequences of neglecting hearing loss.
The dots will not be connected by most people 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. But actually, if you have to work extra hard to hear, it can deplete your physical resources. Remember how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain had to be completely focused on a task for extended time periods. Once you’re done, you likely feel exhausted. When you are struggling to hear, it’s a similar situation: when there are blanks spots in conversation, your brain needs to work extra hard to fill in the missing information – which is often made even more difficult when there is lots of background noise – and consumes precious energy just attempting to manage the conversation. Looking after yourself takes energy that you won’t have with this type of chronic exhaustion. To adapt, you will skip life-essential routines like working out or eating healthy.
Decline of Brain Function
Hearing loss has been connected, by a number of Johns Hopkins University studies, to decreased cognitive functions , accelerated loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these connections are correlations, not causations, it’s theorized by researchers that, once again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which uses up mental resources, the less there are to focus on other things including comprehension and memorization. And declining brain function, as we age is, directly connected to an additional draw on our mental resources. Besides that, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be lessened and mental fitness can be preserved by a continued exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. Fortunately, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the known link between mental decline and hearing loss to work together to carry out research and develop treatments that are promising in the near future.
Mental Health Issues
The National Council on the Aging performed a study of 2,300 senior citizens who suffered some form of hearing loss and discovered that those who neglected their condition were more likely to also suffer from mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their emotional and social happiness. The connection between hearing loss and mental health issues seems logical since people with hearing loss frequently have a hard time communicating with others in family or social situations. Ultimately, feelings of separation could develop into depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can worsen to anxiety and even paranoia if left untreated. Hearing aids have been proven to aid in the recovery from depression, although anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should contact a mental health professional.
Our bodies are one coordinated machine – if one component stops working as it should, it may have a detrimental impact on another seemingly unrelated part. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will occur when blood doesn’t easily flow from the heart to the inner ear. Another condition connected to heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and can cause the brain to receive scrambled signals. If heart disease is neglected serious or even potentially fatal consequences 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 contact both a hearing and a cardiac specialist in order to determine whether your hearing loss is linked to a heart condition.
If you want to start living a healthier life, contact us so we can help you solve any adverse effects of hearing loss that you might suffer.