It’s a regrettable fact of life that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Approximately 38 million individuals cope with hearing loss in the U . S ., though many decide to dismiss it because they consider it as just a part of aging. But beyond how well you hear, ignoring hearing loss will have serious adverse side effects.
Why do many people choose to simply deal with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of seniors, an issue that is minor and can be dealt with easily, while greater than half of the respondents reported cost as a problem. But, those costs can increase astronomically when you take into account the serious adverse reactions and ailments that are brought about by neglecting hearing loss. What are the most prevalent challenges of ignoring 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. The truth is that the less you can hear, the more your body struggles to make up for it, leaving you feeling drained. Remember how tired you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be totally concentrated on a task for extended time periods. Once you’re finished, you likely feel drained. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent scenario: when there are blanks spots in conversation, your brain has to work hard to fill in the missing information – which is usually made even more difficult when there’s lots of background noise – and consumes precious energy just attempting to manage the conversation. This kind of chronic fatigue can impact your health by leaving you too tired to take care of yourself, skipping out on things like working out or cooking healthy meals.
Decline of Brain Function
Hearing loss has been linked, by a number of Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe cognitive functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these connections are correlations, not causations, researchers believe that, once again, the more cognitive resources that are spent trying to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to give attention to other things like memorization and comprehension. And as people age, the additional draw on cognitive resources can speed up the decline of other brain functions and can lead to loss of gray matter. Besides that, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be lessened and mental fitness can be maintained by a continued exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. The fact that a link was discovered between hearing loss and a decline in cognitive functions is promising for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to narrow down the factors and create treatments for these conditions.
Mental Health Issues
The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 senior citizens who suffered some form of hearing loss and discovered that people who neglected their condition were more likely to also be dealing with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their social and emotional happiness. It is obvious that there’s a connection between hearing loss and mental health problems since people with hearing loss often have a hard time communicating with other people in social or family situations. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can ultimately result in depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can surface as a result of these feelings of isolation and exclusion. Hearing aids have been proven to help in the recovery from depression, though anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should contact a mental health professional.
Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one component stops functioning like it is supposed to, it may have a negative impact on another apparently unrelated part. This is the case with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will occur when blood doesn’t flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause information sent from the ear to the brain to get scrambled. Individuals who have noticed some amount 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 figure out whether the hearing loss is indeed caused by a heart condition, since neglecting the symptoms could lead to serious, possibly fatal repercussions.
If you suffer from hearing loss or are going through any of the negative effects listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you live a healthier life.