HEARING TIPS

Ignoring Hearing Loss Has Negative Effects

Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

Hearing loss is a normal part of aging, unfortunately. Approximately 38 million people suffer from some kind of hearing loss in the United States, but many people choose to simply neglect it because it’s a normal part of getting older. However, beyond a person’s ability to hear, their whole health can be negatively affected if they neglect their hearing loss.

Why do so many people resist getting help for their hearing loss? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of seniors consider hearing loss to be a minor problem that can be handled easily enough, while more than half of the participants cited cost as a worry. However, those costs can increase astronomically when you factor in the serious side effects and ailments that are brought on by neglecting hearing loss. Ignoring hearing loss has the following negative side effects.

Fatigue

Most people will not immediately connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. Alternatively, they will connect exhaustion to a number of different factors, like slowing down based on getting older or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you can hear, the more your body works to make up for it, leaving you feeling drained. Imagine you are taking a test such as the SAT where your brain is completely focused on processing the task at hand. You will likely feel exhausted once you finish. The same thing happens when you struggle to hear: your brain is doing work to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which is often made much more difficult when there is a lot of background noise – and as you attempt to process the information, you spend valuable energy. Your overall health can be impacted by this type of persistent exhaustion and you can be left so tired you keep yourself healthy, leaving things like cooking healthy meals or going to the gym difficult to accomplish.

Mental Decline

Johns Hopkins University conducted a study that linked hearing loss to , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these links are not direct causations, they are correlations, it’s believed by researchers that the more cognitive resources used attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to focus on other things like memorization and comprehension. The decline of brain function is accelerated and there is a loss of grey matter with the additional draw on cognitive ability that comes with growing older. The process of cognitive decline can be slowed down and seniors can stay mentally fit by the regular exchange of ideas through conversation. The discovery of a link between loss of hearing and a decline in cognitive functions is promising for future research since the causes of these conditions can be pinpointed and treatments can be formulated when hearing and cognitive specialist team up.

Issues With Your Mental Health

The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 seniors who suffered some form of hearing loss and discovered that people who ignored their hearing problem had mental health troubles such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their emotional and social well-being. The link between hearing loss and mental health problems makes sense since people with hearing loss often have trouble communicating with others in social or family situations. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can eventually result in depression. Because of these feelings of exclusion and isolation, anxiety and even paranoia can be the consequence, specifically if left untreated. It’s been shown that recovery from depression is aided by wearing hearing aids. But a mental health professional should still be contacted if you suffer from paranoia, depression, or anxiety.

Heart Disease

All the different parts of our bodies are one interconnected machine – an evidently unconnected part can be affected negatively if a different part stops functioning as it is supposed to. This is the case with our ears and hearts. As an example, when blood doesn’t flow easily from the heart to the inner ear, hearing loss will happen. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can affect the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause messages sent from the ear to the brain to become scrambled. In order to find out whether hearing loss is caused by heart disease or diabetes, if you have a family history of those illnesses consult with both a hearing expert and a cardiac specialist because ignoring the symptoms can cause severe or even fatal consequences.

If you suffer from hearing loss or are having any of the negative effects outlined above, feel free to contact us so we can help you live a healthier life. Schedule your appointment now.

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