Hearing loss is a normal part of getting older, unfortunately. Approximately 38 million people suffer from some kind of hearing loss in the United States, but a lot of people choose to just neglect it because it’s a normal part of getting older. However, beyond a person’s ability to hear, their overall life can be negatively impacted if they neglect their hearing loss.
Why do so many people refuse to get help for their hearing loss? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of seniors consider hearing loss to be a minor issue that can be dealt with easily enough, while more than half of the participants cited cost as a concern. However, those costs can rise astronomically when you take into account the serious side effects and conditions that are caused by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most prevalent negative effects of neglecting hearing loss.
Most people will not immediately connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. Alternatively, they will attribute fatigue to a number of different factors, such as slowing down due to getting older or a side-effect of medication. In reality, as your brain tries to make up for sound it can’t hear, you’re left feeling exhausted. Visualize a task where you have to be totally concentrated like taking the SAT exam. Once you’re done, you most likely feel depleted. When you struggle to hear, the same thing occurs: during conversations, your brain is trying to fill in the blanks – which is often made much more difficult when there is a lot of background noise – and spends precious energy just trying to digest the conversation. Your overall health can be impacted by this type of chronic exhaustion and you can be left so tired you can’t take good 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. While these connections are not direct causations, they are correlations, it’s thought by researchers that the more cognitive resources spent trying to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you’ll have to focus on other things like memorization and comprehension. And as people age, the increased draw on cognitive resources can accelerate the decline of other brain functions and contribute to gray matter loss. Additionally, having a regular exchange of ideas and information, often through conversation, is believed to help senior citizens stay mentally fit and can help slow the process of cognitive decline. The future for researchers is promising due to the discovery of a link between the decline in cognitive function and loss of hearing, since cognitive and hearing experts can team up to pinpoint the causes and develop treatments for these conditions.
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 issues such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their emotional and social well-being. Since trouble communicating with others in family and social situations is common for those with hearing loss, the link between mental health problems and hearing loss seems logical. This can cause feelings of seclusion, which can eventually result in depression. Due to these feelings of exclusion and solitude, anxiety and even paranoia can be the consequence, particularly if neglected. It’s been demonstrated that recovery from depression is aided by hearing aids. But a mental health professional should still be contacted if you suffer from paranoia, depression, or anxiety.
All the parts of our bodies are one interconnected machine – an apparently unconnected part can be impacted negatively if a different part stops functioning as it should. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. Case in point, hearing loss will take place when blood doesn’t flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can affect the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause messages sent from the ear to the brain to become scrambled. In order to find out whether loss of hearing 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 result in serious or possibly even fatal repercussions.
Please get in touch with us if you are experiencing any of the negative effects outlined above or if you suffer from hearing loss so we can help you live a healthier life. Schedule your appointment now.