It’s a regrettable truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Approximately 38 million people cope with hearing loss in the U . S ., though many people decide to ignore it because they look at it as just a part of getting older. Ignoring hearing loss, though, can have significant negative side effects on a person’s whole well-being beyond their inability to hear.
Why is the decision to just cope with hearing loss one that lots of people choose? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of seniors, a concern that’s minor and can be dealt with easily, while more than half of the participants cited cost as a concern. But, those costs can increase astronomically when you take into account the serious side effects and conditions that are brought about by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most common adverse consequences of ignoring hearing loss.
Most people won’t instantly put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, rather, that they are slowing down due to the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. The truth is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body works to compensate for it, leaving you feeling tired. Recall how tired you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be totally concentrated on a task for long periods of time. Once you’re finished, you likely feel drained. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent situation: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain needs to work hard to substitute the missing information – which, when there is too much background noise, is even more difficult – and uses up precious energy just attempting to process the conversation. Taking care of yourself requires energy that you won’t have with this kind of chronic exhaustion. To adjust, you will skip life-essential routines like working out or eating healthy.
A number of studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to reduced brain functions , accelerated loss of brain tissue, and dementia. Even though these associations are not causation, they’re correlations, scientists think that, again, the more mental resources that are spent trying to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to focus on other things like comprehension and memorization. And as people get older, the increased draw on cognitive resources can accelerate the decline of other brain functions and can lead to loss of gray matter. Additionally, engaging in a routine exchange of information and ideas, usually through conversation, is believed to help seniors remain mentally fit and can help delay the process of mental decline. The fact that a link between cognitive function and hearing loss was found is promising for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can collaborate to pinpoint the causes and develop treatments for these conditions.
Concerns With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of over two thousand senior citizens, that mental health issues which have a negative emotional and social impact, are more common if there is also neglected hearing loss. The link between mental health issues and hearing loss makes sense since, in family and social situations, people who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time interacting with others. Eventually, feelings of separation could develop into depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can appear due to these feelings of solitude and exclusion. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you need to talk to a mental health professional and you should also know that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some types of depression.
Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one component stops working as it should, it might have a detrimental impact on another seemingly unrelated part. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. Case in point, hearing loss will happen when blood doesn’t flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause information sent to the brain from the ear to become 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 ascertain whether the hearing loss is indeed caused by a heart condition, since ignoring the symptoms might lead to severe, possibly fatal consequences.
If you want to begin living a healthier life, reach out to us so we can help you address any negative effects of hearing loss that you may suffer.