It’s an unfortunate truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Roughly 38 million individuals in the United States suffer from some form of hearing loss, but because hearing loss is expected as we age, many decide to leave it unchecked. But beyond the ability to hear, disregarding hearing loss will have serious negative side effects.
Why is the choice to just cope with hearing loss one that lots of people consider? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens think of hearing loss as a minor concern that can be dealt with fairly easily, while greater than half of the respondents cited cost as a concern. The costs of neglecting hearing loss, however, can be a lot higher due to complications and side effects that come with ignoring it. Here are the most likely negative effects of ignoring hearing loss.
The dots will not be connected by most people from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will attribute fatigue to countless different factors, such as slowing down because of aging or a side-effect of medication. But in reality, if you have to work harder to hear, it can drain your physical resources. Think about taking an exam like the SAT where your brain is entirely concentrated on processing the task at hand. You would most likely feel really depleted after you’re finished. When you are struggling to hear, it’s a similar scenario: when there are blanks spots in conversation, your brain needs to work extra hard to substitute the missing information – which, when there is enough background noise, is even harder – and uses up precious energy just attempting to process the conversation. Taking care of yourself takes energy which you won’t have with this kind of chronic fatigue. To adapt, you will avoid life-essential activities like working out or eating healthy.
Decline of Brain Function
Hearing loss has been connected, by a number of Johns Hopkins University studies, to reduced brain functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. Even though these links are not causation, they’re correlations, researchers believe that, once again, the more mental resources that are spent trying to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to focus on other things like comprehension and memorization. And decreasing brain function, as we get older is, directly linked to an increased draw on our cognitive resources. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be lessened and mental wellness can be maintained by a continued exchange of ideas, usually through conversation. The fact that a link was discovered between hearing loss and a decline in cognitive functions is encouraging for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can collaborate to narrow down the causes and develop treatments for these ailments.
Concerns With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of more than two thousand senior citizens, that mental health problems that have a negative emotional and social impact, are more common if there is also neglected hearing loss. The connection between hearing loss and mental health issues makes sense since people with hearing loss frequently have difficulty communicating with other people in family or social situations. Eventually, feelings of isolation could develop into depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if left untreated. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you should consult a mental health professional and you also should know that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some forms of depression.
Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one component stops functioning as it is supposed to, it may have a detrimental affect on another apparently unrelated part. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. Case in point, hearing loss will occur when blood does not flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. Diabetes, which is also linked to heart disease, can impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause information sent from the ear to the brain to get scrambled. People who have detected some degree of hearing loss and who have a history of heart disease or diabetes in their families should consult with both a hearing and cardiac specialist to figure out whether the hearing loss is actually caused by a heart condition, since ignoring the symptoms might lead to serious, possibly fatal consequences.
If you want to start living a healthier life, contact us so we can help you resolve any negative effects of hearing loss that you may suffer.