The regrettable truth is, as you age, your hearing begins to go. Approximately 38 million individuals cope with hearing loss in the United States, though many people decide to ignore it because they think about it as just a part of aging. But beyond how well you hear, ignoring hearing loss will have severe negative side effects.
Why do many people choose to just accept hearing loss? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of senior citizens, a problem that’s minimal and can be managed easily, while cost was a worry for more than half of individuals who participated in the study. The costs of ignoring hearing loss, though, can be a lot higher as a result of conditions and adverse reactions that come with leaving it untreated. Here are the most prevalent negative consequences of neglecting hearing loss.
Most people will not instantly put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will blame their fatigue on countless different factors, such as slowing down because of aging or a side-effect of medication. The truth is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body struggles to make up for it, leaving you feeling exhausted. Remember how tired you were at times in your life when your brain had to be completely focused on a task for extended periods of time. Once you’re done, you probably feel drained. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s a similar situation: your brain is trying to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there is too much background noise, is even more difficult – and just trying to process information uses precious energy. This kind of chronic exhaustion can impact your health by leaving you too tired to care for yourself, cutting out things like working out or cooking wholesome meals.
Hearing loss has been linked, by a number of Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe cognitive functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these links are correlations, instead of causations, scientists believe that, again, the more cognitive resources that are used attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to give attention to other things like comprehension and memorization. And decreasing brain function, as we age is, directly linked to an increased draw on our cognitive resources. Additionally, engaging in a regular exchange of information and ideas, usually through conversation, is believed to help seniors stay mentally fit and can help decrease the process of mental decline. 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 factors and create treatments for these conditions.
Issues With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging carried out a study of 2,300 senior citizens who suffered some form of hearing loss and found that individuals who neglected their condition were more likely to also be dealing with mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their emotional and social well-being. The connection between mental health issues and hearing loss makes sense since people with hearing loss often have a hard time communicating with other people in family or social situations. Ultimately, feelings of isolation could become depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can surface as a result of these feelings of separation and exclusion. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you should talk to a mental health professional and you also should be aware that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some kinds of depression.
Our bodies are one coordinated machine – if one part stops working like it should, it may have a negative impact on another apparently unrelated part. This is the case with our hearts and ears. As a case in point, if blood flow from the heart to the inner ear is restricted, hearing loss may occur. Another affliction linked to heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and can cause the brain to get scrambled information. Individuals 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 indeed caused by a heart condition, since neglecting the symptoms could lead to severe, possibly fatal consequences.
If you suffer from hearing loss or are experiencing any of the adverse effects listed above, please reach out to us so we can help you have a healthier life.