It’s a regrettable fact of life that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Approximately 38 million people suffer from hearing loss in the United States, though many decide to ignore it because they think about it as just a part of getting older. But beyond how well you hear, disregarding hearing loss can have severe negative side effects.
Why is the decision to simply cope with hearing loss one that lots of people choose? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of seniors, an issue that is minimal and can be handled easily, while greater than half of the participants cited cost as a concern. The costs of ignoring hearing loss, though, can become a great deal higher because of conditions and side effects that come with leaving it untreated. Here are the most prevalent negative consequences of neglecting hearing loss.
The dots will not be connected by most people 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. But actually, if you need to work harder to hear, it can drain your physical resources. Remember how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain had to be completely focused on a task for extended time periods. You would most likely feel fairly depleted after you’re finished. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s a similar situation: your brain is working to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which is usually made even harder when there’s a lot of background noise – and just trying to process information uses valuable energy. Taking care of yourself takes energy that you won’t have with this type of chronic exhaustion. To adapt, you will avoid life-essential routines like working out or eating healthy.
Decline of Cognitive Function
Hearing loss has been connected, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe brain functions , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these links are correlations, not causations, it’s believed by researchers that, again, the more cognitive resources that are spent attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you have to give attention to other things like memorization and comprehension. And decreasing brain function, as we get older is, directly linked to an additional draw on our cognitive resources. Besides that, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be lessened and mental wellness can be maintained by a continued exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. Fortunately, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the known link between mental decline and hearing loss to work together to carry out research and establish treatments that are promising in the near future.
Mental Health Issues
The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of over two thousand seniors, that mental health issues which have a negative social and emotional impact, are more prevalent if there is also untreated hearing loss. It makes sense that there is a link between mental health and hearing loss issues since, in family and social situations, individuals who suffer from hearing loss have a hard time interacting with others. This can result in feelings of separation, which can ultimately result in depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can appear 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 be aware that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some kinds of depression.
If one part of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops functioning correctly, it could have an impact on seemingly unrelated bodily functions. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will occur when blood does not flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. Another affliction associated with heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and sometimes causes the brain to receive scrambled information. People who have detected some degree of hearing loss and who have a history of diabetes or heart disease in their families should contact both a hearing and cardiac specialist to determine whether the hearing loss is indeed caused by a heart condition, since neglecting the symptoms might lead to severe, possibly fatal consequences.
If you suffer from hearing loss or are going through any of the negative repercussions listed above, please contact us for a consultation so we can help you have a healthier life.