The Negative Impact of Ignoring Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a normal part of the aging process, unfortunately. Approximately 38 million people suffer from some kind of hearing loss in the United States, though because hearing loss is expected as we age, many decide to leave it unchecked. Neglecting hearing loss, however, can have severe negative side effects on a person’s entire well-being beyond their inability to hear.
Why do so many people refuse to get help for their hearing loss? According to an AARP study, More than half of seniors cited costs as the major worry while one third consider hearing loss as a minor issue that can be easily handled. However, those costs can rise astronomically when you take into account the serious side effects and conditions that are brought on by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most common negative effects of neglecting hearing loss.
Most people will not immediately connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. They are often in denial and will attribute their fatigue on things like getting older or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you are able to hear, the more your body works to make up for it, leaving you feeling exhausted. Visualize a task where you need to be completely focused like taking the SAT test. After you’re finished, you probably feel depleted. When you struggle to hear, the same thing occurs: your brain is doing work to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which is generally made much harder when there is a lot of background noise – and spends precious energy just attempting to digest the conversation. This type of chronic fatigue can impact your health by leaving you too run down to take care of yourself, leaving things like cooking healthy meals or going to the gym hard to accomplish.
Several studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these connections are not direct causations, they are correlations, researchers think that the more cognitive resources expended attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less the resources available for other things like comprehension and memory. And as people age, the greater draw on cognitive resources can speed up the decline of other brain functions and contribute to gray matter loss. The process of cognitive decline can be slowed down and seniors can stay mentally tuned by the regular exchange of ideas through conversation. The fact that a link was discovered between loss of hearing and a decline in cognitive functions is promising for future research since cognitive and hearing experts can team up to identify the causes and develop treatment options for these ailments.
Issues With Your Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 seniors who suffered some form of hearing loss and discovered that people who neglected their hearing condition had mental health troubles like depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their social and emotional well-being. The connection between loss of hearing and mental health issues makes sense since people with hearing loss often have difficulty communicating with others in family or social scenarios. This can cause feelings of seclusion, which can eventually lead to depression. Because of these feelings of exclusion and solitude, anxiety and even paranoia can be the result, particularly if neglected. Hearing aids have been proven to assist in the recovery from depression, though anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should seek advice from with a mental health professional.
All the different parts of our bodies are one interconnected machine – an apparently unconnected part can be impacted negatively if a different part quits functioning as it is supposed to. This is the case with our hearts and ears. As an example, when blood doesn’t flow easily from the heart to the inner ear, loss of hearing will happen. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and scramble messages from the ear to the brain. In order to ascertain whether hearing loss is caused by heart disease or diabetes, if you have a family history of those illnesses consult with both a hearing expert and a cardiac specialist because neglecting the symptoms can lead to severe or even fatal repercussions.
Please contact us if you are having any of the negative effects outlined above or if you have hearing loss so we can help you live a healthier life. Schedule your appointment now.