The unfortunate reality is, as you age, your hearing starts to fail. Approximately 38 million people in the United States suffer from some form of hearing loss, though because hearing loss is expected as we get older, many people choose to leave it unchecked. Disregarding hearing loss, though, can have major adverse side effects on a person’s over-all well-being beyond how well they hear.
Why do many people decide to just deal with hearing loss? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of seniors, a problem that is minor and can be handled easily, while price was a concern for more than half of individuals who took part in the study. But, those costs can rise incredibly when you factor in the serious side effects and conditions that are brought on by ignoring hearing loss. What are the most common complications of neglecting 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. But in reality, if you have to work extra hard to hear, it can deplete your physical resources. Remember how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain had to be completely focused on a task for prolonged time periods. Once you’re finished, you probably feel drained. When you are struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent situation: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain needs to work hard to substitute the missing information – which is often made even more difficult when there’s lots of background noise – and uses up precious energy just trying to manage the conversation. This kind of chronic tiredness can impact your health by leaving you too tired to care for yourself, skipping out on things like working out or cooking wholesome meals.
A number of studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to decreased brain functions , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. Even though these associations are not causation, they’re correlations, scientists think that, once again, the more cognitive resources that are used attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you have to focus on other things including comprehension and memorization. And declining brain function, as we age is, directly connected to an additional draw on our mental resources. What’s more, engaging in a regular exchange of ideas and information, often through conversation, is believed to help seniors remain mentally fit and can help decrease the process of cognitive decline. Fortunately, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the known link between mental decline and hearing loss to work together to undertake research and establish treatments that are promising in the near future.
Mental Health Problems
The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of over two thousand senior citizens, that mental health problems which have a negative emotional and social impact, are more common if there is also untreated hearing loss. The connection between mental health issues and hearing loss makes sense since people who suffer from hearing loss often have a hard time communicating with others in family or social situations. Eventually, feelings of isolation could become depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can surface due to these feelings of separation and exclusion. Hearing aids have been proven to help in the recovery from depression, although anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should contact a mental health professional.
Our bodies are one coordinated machine – if one component stops working as it is supposed to, it may have a detrimental impact on another seemingly unrelated part. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. Case in point, hearing loss will happen when blood does not easily flow from the heart to the inner ear. Another affliction connected to heart disease is diabetes which also impacts the nerve endings of the inner ear and can cause the brain to get scrambled information. People who have detected some degree 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 indeed caused by a heart condition, since overlooking the symptoms might lead to serious, possibly fatal consequences.
If you deal with hearing loss or are experiencing any of the adverse effects listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you have a healthier life.