It’s an unfortunate truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Approximately 38 million people cope with hearing loss in the United States, but many decide to disregard it because they consider it as just a part of getting older. But beyond how well you hear, disregarding hearing loss will have severe negative side effects.
Why is the choice to simply ignore hearing loss one that lots of people consider? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor problem that can be managed fairly easily, while greater than half of the respondents cited cost as a concern. But, those costs can increase incredibly when you factor in the serious adverse reactions and ailments that are brought about by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most likely negative effects of ignoring hearing loss.
The majority of people won’t immediately put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, rather, that they are slowing down because of the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. The fact is that the less you can hear, the more your body struggles to compensate for it, leaving you feeling drained. Recall how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain had to be totally focused on a task for long time periods. Once you’re done, you likely feel exhausted. The same situation takes place when you struggle to hear: your brain is working to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there’s too much background noise, is even more difficult – and consumes precious energy just trying to manage the conversation. 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 Cognitive Function
Hearing loss has been connected, by numerous Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe cognitive functions , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these connections are correlations, not causations, researchers think that, once again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes cognitive resources, the less there are to give attention to other things like comprehension and memorization. And declining brain function, as we get older is, directly connected to an increased draw on our cognitive resources. Additionally, having a routine exchange of information and ideas, usually through conversation, is thought to help seniors stay mentally fit and can help decrease the process of mental decline. Luckily, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the recognized connection between mental decline and hearing loss to collaborate to carry out research and establish treatments that are promising in the near future.
Concerns With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of over two thousand seniors, that mental health issues that have a negative emotional and social affect, are more common if there is also untreated hearing loss. It is obvious that there’s a link between mental health and hearing loss problems since people with hearing loss frequently have difficulty communicating with others in social or family situations. Eventually, feelings of isolation could become depression. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can surface as a result of these feelings of solitude and exclusion. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you need to contact a mental health professional and you also should be aware that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some types of depression.
If one part of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops working properly, it could have an affect on seemingly unrelated bodily functions. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will happen when blood does not flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. Another condition connected to heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and can cause the brain to receive scrambled information. If heart disease is ignored serious or even possibly fatal consequences can occur. So if you have noticed some hearing loss and have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should consult both a hearing and a cardiac specialist so that you can figure out if your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.
If you deal with hearing loss or are experiencing any of the negative effects listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you live a healthier life.