The regrettable truth is, as you get older, your hearing starts to go. Approximately 38 million individuals in the United States suffer from some form of hearing loss, but because hearing loss is expected as we get older, many decide to leave it unchecked. Disregarding hearing loss, though, can have significant negative side effects on a person’s entire well-being beyond their inability to hear.
Why do so many people decide to simply deal with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of senior citizens, a problem that’s minor and can be dealt with easily, while greater than half of the respondents cited cost as a concern. But, those costs can rise incredibly when you take into account the serious adverse reactions and conditions that are triggered by ignoring hearing loss. Here are the most likely adverse effects of neglecting 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. But actually, if you need to work extra hard to hear, it can deplete your physical resources. Recall how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain had to be completely concentrated on a task for prolonged time periods. You would probably feel fairly depleted when you’re done. The same situation occurs 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 is lots of background noise – and consumes valuable energy just trying to manage the conversation. Taking care of yourself takes energy which you won’t have with this kind of chronic fatigue. To adjust, you will avoid life-essential activities like working out or eating healthy.
Hearing loss has been linked, by numerous Johns Hopkins University studies, to reduced brain functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. Although these links are not causation, they’re correlations, scientists think that, once again, the more often you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes mental resources, the less there are to give attention to other things like comprehension and memorization. And declining brain function, as we age is, directly linked to an increased draw on our mental resources. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be lessened and mental fitness can be preserved by a continued exchange of ideas, usually through conversation. The fact that a link between cognitive function and hearing loss was found is encouraging for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to pinpoint the causes and create treatments for these conditions.
Concerns With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 senior citizens who suffered some form of hearing loss and found that those who neglected their condition were more likely to also be dealing with mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their social and emotional well-being. It is obvious that there’s a link between hearing loss and mental health issues since people who suffer from hearing loss frequently have difficulty communicating with others in social or family situations. Eventually, feelings of isolation could develop into depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can surface due to these feelings of separation and exclusion. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you need to contact a mental health professional and you also should know that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some kinds of depression.
Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one component stops functioning like it should, it might have a negative impact on another seemingly unrelated part. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will happen when blood doesn’t flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. Diabetes, which is also linked to heart disease, can affect the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause information sent to the brain from the ear to become scrambled. People who have noticed some amount of hearing loss and who have a history of heart disease or diabetes in their families should contact both a hearing and cardiac specialist to determine whether the hearing loss is actually caused by a heart condition, since ignoring the symptoms could lead to serious, possibly fatal repercussions.
If you want to start living a healthier life, reach out to us so we can help you resolve any adverse effects of hearing loss that you may suffer.