Ignoring Hearing Loss Has Negative Effects
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 since hearing loss is expected as we get older, many people decide to leave it unchecked. Ignoring hearing loss, however, can have severe negative side effects on a person’s entire health beyond their inability to hear.
Why do so many people decide to just live with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, More than half of seniors cited costs as the major concern while one third regard hearing loss as a small issue that can be easily treated. When you consider the conditions and serious side effects caused by neglecting hearing loss, however, the costs can rise astronomically. Ignoring hearing loss has the following negative side effects.
Most people will not immediately connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. Alternatively, they will connect exhaustion to several other factors, such as slowing down due to getting older or a side-effect of medication. The truth is that the less you are able to hear, the more your body works to make up for it, leaving you feeling drained. Imagine you are taking a test like the SAT where your brain is completely focused on processing the task at hand. You will likely feel exhausted once you finish. When you struggle to hear, the same thing occurs: during conversations, your brain is trying to fill in the blanks – and if there is a lot of background noise this is even more difficult – and as you attempt to process the information, you use up precious energy. This type of chronic exhaustion can affect your health by leaving you too run down to take care of yourself, leaving things like going to the gym or cooking healthy meals difficult to accomplish.
Johns Hopkins University conducted a study that linked hearing loss to , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. Although these connections are correlations instead of causations, it’s believed by researchers that the more cognitive resources used attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to dedicate to other things such as memorization and comprehension. 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 reduced 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 loss of cognitive functions is encouraging for future research since the causes of these ailments can be determined and treatment options can be formulated when hearing and cognitive specialist work together.
Mental Health Issues
The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 seniors who suffered some form of hearing loss and discovered that paranoia, anxiety, and depression negatively affected the emotional health more often than those who don’t have hearing loss. The connection between hearing loss and mental health issues makes sense since those with loss of hearing commonly have trouble communicating with others in family or social scenarios. This can lead to depression after suffering from persistent feelings of seclusion. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can appear due to these feelings of seclusion and exclusion. Hearing aids have been proven to aid in the recovery from depression, however, anyone who has depression, anxiety, or paranoia should seek advice from with a mental health professional.
Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one part quits functioning as it should, it could have a negative impact on another apparently unrelated part. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. As an example, when blood doesn’t flow easily from the heart to the inner ear, hearing loss will happen. Another disease that can affect the inner ear’s nerve ending, and is also associated with heart disease is diabetes which causes messages from the ear to the brain to be scrambled. In order to find out whether hearing loss is caused by heart disease or diabetes, if you have a family history of those illnesses contact both a hearing expert and a cardiac specialist because ignoring the symptoms can cause severe or even fatal consequences.
If you suffer from loss of hearing or are experiencing any of the negative effects outlined above, please contact us so we can help you live a healthier life. Schedule your appointment now.