The regrettable reality is, as you age, your hearing begins to go. Approximately 38 million people suffer from hearing loss in the United States, though many people decide to ignore it because they consider it as just a part of getting older. Disregarding hearing loss, however, can have significant adverse side effects on a person’s general well-being beyond how well they hear.
Why do so many people decide to just live with hearing loss? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of senior citizens, a concern that’s minimal and can be dealt with easily, while more than half of the participants cited cost as a concern. The consequences of ignoring hearing loss, however, can be a lot higher as a result of complications and adverse reactions that come with leaving it untreated. What are the most prevalent complications of ignoring hearing loss?
The dots will not be connected by most people from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will blame their fatigue on several different factors, such as slowing down because of aging or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body struggles to make up for it, leaving you feeling drained. Recall how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain had to be totally concentrated on a task for prolonged time periods. Once you’re finished, you probably feel exhausted. The same situation takes place when you struggle to hear: your brain is trying to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which is often made even harder when there’s lots of background noise – and uses up precious energy just trying to manage the conversation. Looking after yourself takes energy which 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 Brain Function
Hearing loss has been connected, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe cognitive functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. Even though these connections are not causation, they’re correlations, it’s theorized by researchers that, once again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which uses up cognitive resources, the less you have to focus on other things like memorization and comprehension. And as people age, the additional draw on mental resources can speed up the decline of other brain functions and worsen gray matter loss. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be slowed and mental fitness can be maintained by sustained exchange of ideas, usually through conversation. The fact that a link between cognitive function and hearing loss was found is encouraging for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to narrow down the causes and create treatment options for these conditions.
Issues 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 affect, are more prevalent if there is also neglected hearing loss. It makes sense that there is a connection between hearing loss and mental health issues since people with hearing loss often have difficulty communicating with others in social or family situations. Eventually, feelings of separation could become depression. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can appear as a result of these feelings of solitude and exclusion. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you need to contact a mental health professional and you should also be aware that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some kinds of depression.
If one part of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops working correctly, it could have an affect on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. As a case in point, if blood flow from the heart to the inner ear is constrained, hearing loss could happen. Diabetes, which is also linked to heart disease, can impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause information sent to the brain from the ear to get scrambled. People who have noticed some amount of hearing loss and who have a history of heart disease or diabetes in their families should contact both a hearing and cardiac specialist to determine whether the hearing loss is actually caused by a heart condition, since neglecting the symptoms could lead to severe, possibly fatal repercussions.
If you have hearing loss or are going through any of the adverse repercussions listed above, please reach out to us so we can help you have a healthier life.