The regrettable truth is, as you get older, your hearing begins to fail. Approximately 38 million people suffer from hearing loss in the United States, though many choose to ignore it because they think about it as just a part of getting older. But beyond the ability to hear, disregarding hearing loss will have serious adverse side effects.
Why is the choice to simply ignore hearing loss one that many people choose? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of senior citizens, an issue that is minor and can be handled easily, while greater than half of the respondents reported cost as a problem. The consequences of neglecting hearing loss, though, can be a lot higher because of complications and side effects that come with ignoring it. What are the most common challenges of neglecting hearing loss?
The majority of people won’t immediately put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, instead, that they are slowing down because of the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. But actually, if you have to work extra hard to hear, it can deplete your physical resources. Recall how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be totally concentrated on a task for extended periods of time. You would probably feel really depleted when you’re done. The same thing happens when you struggle to hear: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain has to work extra hard to fill in the missing information – which is often made even harder when there is a lot of background noise – and consumes valuable energy just attempting to manage the conversation. Looking after yourself takes energy which you won’t have with this type of chronic exhaustion. To adjust, you will skip life-essential activities such as working out or eating healthy.
Decline of Cognitive Function
Hearing loss has been connected, by a number of Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe brain functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. Even though these associations are not causation, they’re correlations, scientists believe that, again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes cognitive resources, the less you have to focus on other things like memorization and comprehension. And as people get older, the increased draw on mental resources can accelerate the decline of other brain functions and worsen gray matter loss. What’s more, having a routine exchange of information and ideas, usually through conversation, is thought to help seniors stay mentally fit and can help slow the process of cognitive decline. The fact that a connection between cognitive function and hearing loss was found is encouraging for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to pinpoint the causes and create treatments for these ailments.
Problems With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 seniors who suffered some form of hearing loss and found that those who left their condition untreated were more likely to also suffer from mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their emotional and social happiness. It makes sense that there’s a link between hearing loss and mental health problems since people who suffer from hearing loss often have a hard time communicating with others in family or social situations. Ultimately, feelings of separation could develop into depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can worsen to anxiety and even paranoia if left untreated. Hearing aids have been shown to help in the recovery from depression, though anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should consult with a mental health professional.
If one part of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops functioning properly, it could have an affect on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the case with our hearts and ears. Case in point, hearing loss will happen when blood does not flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. 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. Individuals who have noticed some amount 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 could lead to serious, possibly fatal consequences.
If you want to begin living a healthier life, reach out to us so we can help you resolve any adverse effects of hearing loss that you may suffer.