The unfortunate truth is, as you get older, your hearing starts to go. Roughly 38 million individuals cope with hearing loss in the United States, but many decide to ignore it because they consider it as just a part of aging. Disregarding hearing loss, however, can have major negative side effects on a person’s over-all well-being beyond how well they hear.
Why do so many people choose to just deal with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of senior citizens, a problem that is minor and can be managed easily, while cost was a concern for more than half of people who took part in the study. The consequences of neglecting hearing loss, though, can be a lot higher due to complications and adverse reactions that come with ignoring it. What are the most prevalent challenges of neglecting hearing loss?
Most people will not instantly connect the dots 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. But in reality, 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 needed to be completely concentrated on a task for long periods of time. You would probably feel quite depleted after you’re finished. The same situation takes place when you struggle to hear: your brain is working to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which is usually made even harder when there’s a lot of background noise – and uses up precious energy just trying to process the conversation. This kind of chronic fatigue can affect your health by leaving you too tired to take care of yourself, cutting out things like going to the gym or cooking wholesome meals.
Decline of Cognitive Function
Hearing loss has been linked, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe cognitive functions , accelerated loss of brain tissue, and dementia. Even though these links are not causation, they’re correlations, researchers believe that, once again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which uses up mental resources, the less there are to give attention to other things including memorization and comprehension. And as people get older, the additional draw on cognitive resources can accelerate the decline of other brain functions and worsen loss of gray matter. In addition, having a routine exchange of ideas and information, usually through conversation, is thought to help seniors remain mentally fit and can help slow the process of cognitive decline. Luckily, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the known connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss to collaborate to undertake research and develop treatments that are encouraging in the near future.
Mental Health Problems
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 such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their social and emotional well-being. It is obvious that there is a connection between hearing loss and mental health issues since people with hearing loss frequently have difficulty communicating with other people in family or social situations. This can lead to feelings of separation, which can ultimately lead to depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you need to contact a mental health professional and you should also be aware that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some types of depression.
Our bodies are one coordinated machine – if one component stops working like it should, it could have a negative affect on another seemingly unrelated part. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will happen when blood doesn’t easily flow from the heart to the inner ear. Another condition 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 receive scrambled signals. If heart disease is disregarded severe or even possibly fatal repercussions can occur. So if you’ve noticed some hearing loss and have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should seek advice from both a cardiac and hearing specialist so that you can figure out whether your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.
If you suffer from hearing loss or are experiencing any of the negative effects listed above, please reach out to us so we can help you live a healthier life.