It’s an unfortunate fact of life that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Roughly 38 million people in the United States deal with some form of hearing loss, but since hearing loss is expected as we age, many decide to ignore it. But beyond how well you hear, ignoring hearing loss can have serious adverse side effects.
Why is the decision to simply live with hearing loss one that many people choose? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of seniors, an issue that’s minimal and can be managed easily, while greater than half of the respondents cited cost as a problem. However, those costs can increase incredibly when you factor in the significant adverse reactions and conditions that are brought about by neglecting hearing loss. What are the most prevalent complications of ignoring hearing loss?
The dots will not be connected by most people from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, instead, 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 can hear, the more your body struggles to make up for it, leaving you feeling tired. Recall how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be completely concentrated on a task for long time periods. Once you’re done, you likely feel exhausted. The same thing takes place when you struggle to hear: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain needs to work extra hard to fill in the missing information – which, when there’s too much background noise, is even more difficult – and just attempting to process information uses valuable energy. This kind of chronic tiredness can impact your health by leaving you too tired to care for yourself, skipping out on things like working out or cooking healthy meals.
Decline of Brain Function
Hearing loss has been connected, by a number of Johns Hopkins University studies, to decreased brain functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these connections are correlations, instead of causations, scientists believe that, once again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes mental resources, the less there are to give attention to other things including comprehension and memorization. And as people get older, the increased draw on mental resources can speed up the decline of other brain functions and can lead to loss of gray matter. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be lessened and mental wellness can be maintained by sustained exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. The fact that a connection between cognitive function and hearing loss was found is promising for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to narrow down the causes and create treatments for these conditions.
Issues With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of more than two thousand seniors, that mental health problems which have a negative social and emotional impact, are more prevalent if there is also neglected hearing loss. It makes sense that there is a connection between mental health and hearing loss problems since, in family and social situations, individuals who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time communicating with others. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can eventually lead to depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if left untreated. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you should consult a mental health professional and you should also know that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some kinds of depression.
If one portion of your body, which is an interconnected machine, stops functioning properly, it might have an impact on seemingly unrelated bodily functions. 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 constrained, hearing loss could be the result. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause information sent from the ear to the brain to become scrambled. If heart disease is disregarded severe or even potentially fatal repercussions can occur. So if you’ve detected some hearing loss and you have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should contact both a hearing and a cardiac specialist in order to figure out if your hearing loss is linked to a heart condition.
If you deal with hearing loss or are experiencing any of the negative repercussions listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you live a healthier life.