The regrettable reality is, as you get older, your hearing begins to fail. Approximately 38 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of hearing loss, though since hearing loss is expected as we get older, many choose to just deal with it. But beyond the ability to hear, disregarding hearing loss will have serious negative side effects.
Why do so many people choose to just deal with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor problem that can be handled easily enough, while more than half of the participants reported cost as a concern. However, those costs can increase astronomically when you factor in the serious side effects and ailments that are brought on by ignoring hearing loss. What are the most prevalent challenges of neglecting hearing loss?
The majority of people will not instantly connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will attribute fatigue to several different ideas, such as slowing down due to aging or a side-effect of medication. But actually, if you have to work extra hard to hear, it can drain your physical resources. Remember how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be totally concentrated on a task for extended time periods. You would probably feel fairly depleted when you’re done. The same situation happens when you struggle to hear: 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 attempting to process information consumes precious energy. This type of chronic exhaustion can impact your health by leaving you too tired to care for yourself, skipping out on things like going to the gym or cooking wholesome meals.
Countless studies conducted by Johns Hopkins University connected hearing loss to reduced brain functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. Although these connections are not causation, they’re correlations, researchers believe that, again, the more often you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes cognitive resources, the less there are to focus on other things like memorization and comprehension. And declining brain function, as we age is, directly linked to an increased draw on our cognitive resources. What’s more, engaging in a routine exchange of information and ideas, usually through conversation, is thought to help seniors remain mentally fit and can help decrease the process of mental decline. Luckily, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the recognized link between mental decline and hearing loss to work together to carry out research and develop treatments that are encouraging 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 emotional and social impact, are more common if there is also untreated hearing loss. It is obvious that there’s a connection between hearing loss and mental health issues since, in social and family situations, people who cope with hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others. Ultimately, feelings of separation could develop into depression. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can surface as a result of these feelings of isolation and exclusion. Hearing aids have been shown to aid in the recovery from depression, though anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should consult with a mental health professional.
If one portion of your body, which is an interconnected machine, stops functioning correctly, it could have an affect on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the case with our hearts and ears. As a case in point, if blood flow from the heart to the inner ear is restricted, hearing loss could happen. Another affliction associated with heart disease is diabetes which also impacts the nerve endings of the inner ear and sometimes causes the brain to receive scrambled signals. If heart disease is disregarded severe or even potentially fatal repercussions can occur. So if you’ve detected some hearing loss and have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should seek advice from both a cardiac and hearing 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 going through any of the adverse repercussions listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you live a healthier life.