It’s an unfortunate fact of life that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Roughly 38 million people cope with hearing loss in the United States, but many decide to disregard it because they think about it as just a part of getting older. Disregarding hearing loss, however, can have significant adverse side effects on a person’s entire well-being beyond their inability to hear.
Why do many people decide to simply live with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of seniors, a problem that is minor and can be managed easily, while price was a concern for more than half of people who took part in the study. But, those costs can increase incredibly when you factor in the serious adverse reactions and conditions that are brought on by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most likely adverse consequences of ignoring hearing loss.
The dots will not be connected by most people from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will blame their fatigue on countless different ideas, such as slowing down due to aging or a side-effect of medication. The fact is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body works to compensate for it, leaving you feeling exhausted. Imagine you are taking an exam such as the SAT where your brain is entirely focused on processing the task in front of you. You would most likely feel quite depleted after you’re finished. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s a similar scenario: your brain is trying to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which is often made even harder when there’s a lot of background noise – and simply attempting to process information uses precious energy. This type of chronic tiredness can affect your health by leaving you too tired to take care of yourself, skipping out on things like working out or cooking wholesome meals.
Numerous studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to decreased cognitive functions , accelerated loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these connections are correlations, not causations, researchers think that, again, the more mental resources that are spent attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you have to give attention to other things including comprehension and memorization. And as people get older, the additional draw on mental resources can accelerate the decline of other brain functions and contribute to gray matter loss. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be slowed and mental wellness can be maintained by sustained exchange of ideas, usually through conversation. Luckily, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the known connection between mental decline and hearing loss to collaborate to carry out research and establish treatments that are encouraging in the near future.
Mental Health Issues
The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of over two thousand senior citizens, that mental health issues which have a negative social and emotional impact, are more common if there is also untreated hearing loss. The link between mental health issues and hearing loss adds up since people who suffer from hearing loss often have a hard time communicating with other people in family or social situations. Ultimately, feelings of isolation could become depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can appear as a result of these feelings of solitude and exclusion. Hearing aids have been shown to help in the recovery from depression, although anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should contact a mental health professional.
Our bodies are one coordinated machine – if one component stops functioning as it is supposed to, it could have a negative affect on another apparently unrelated part. This is the way it is 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 be the result. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can affect the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause messages sent from the ear to the brain to get scrambled. If heart disease is neglected serious or even potentially fatal repercussions can happen. So if you’ve detected some hearing loss and you 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 connected to a heart condition.
If you deal with hearing loss or are experiencing any of the adverse repercussions listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you have a healthier life.