The unfortunate truth is, as you age, your hearing starts to go. Roughly 38 million people in the United States suffer from some form of hearing loss, but since hearing loss is expected as we age, many people decide to just deal with it. But beyond the ability to hear, ignoring hearing loss will have severe negative side effects.
Why do many people choose to just live with hearing loss? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of seniors, a problem that’s minor and can be managed easily, while cost was a concern for more than half of individuals who took part in the study. But, those costs can rise astronomically when you factor in the significant adverse reactions and conditions that are triggered by ignoring hearing loss. What are the most common complications of neglecting hearing loss?
The majority of people will not immediately put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will attribute fatigue to countless different factors, like slowing down due to aging or a side-effect of medication. But in reality, if you have to work extra hard to hear, it can deplete your physical resources. Think about taking a test like the SAT where your brain is completely concentrated on processing the task in front of you. Once you’re finished, you likely feel drained. The same situation takes place when you struggle to hear: your brain is trying to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which is often made even more difficult when there’s lots of background noise – and consumes precious energy just attempting to process the conversation. Looking after yourself requires energy that you won’t have with this kind of chronic exhaustion. To adapt, you will skip life-essential activities like working out or eating healthy.
Decline of Brain Function
Hearing loss has been connected, by numerous Johns Hopkins University studies, to decreased brain functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these connections are correlations, not causations, researchers believe that, once again, the more often you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes mental resources, the less you have to focus on other things including memorization and comprehension. And declining brain function, as we age is, directly connected to an additional draw on our cognitive resources. Additionally, engaging in a regular exchange of information and ideas, often through conversation, is believed to help seniors stay mentally fit and can help slow the process of mental decline. The fact that a connection was discovered between hearing loss and a decline in cognitive functions is encouraging for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can collaborate to pinpoint the causes and create treatment options for these ailments.
Issues With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging carried out a study of 2,300 senior citizens who were dealing with some form of hearing loss and found 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 social and emotional happiness. The link between mental health issues and hearing loss seems logical since, in family and social situations, individuals who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time interacting with others. This can result in feelings of separation, which can ultimately lead to depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can appear as a result of these feelings of separation and exclusion. Hearing aids have been proven to help in the recovery from depression, although anybody 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 may have a detrimental impact on another apparently unrelated part. This is the case with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will happen when blood does not 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. If heart disease is neglected severe or even potentially fatal consequences can occur. So if you’ve noticed some hearing loss and you have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should consult both a hearing and a cardiac specialist in order to determine whether your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.
If you have hearing loss or are going through any of the negative repercussions listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you live a healthier life.