The unfortunate truth is, as you age, your hearing begins to fail. Approximately 38 million individuals in the United States suffer from some kind of hearing loss, though since hearing loss is expected as we get older, many people choose to leave it unchecked. But beyond the ability to hear, ignoring hearing loss can have severe adverse side effects.
Why do so many people decide to simply live with hearing loss? Based on an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor concern that can be dealt with easily enough, while more than half of the respondents cited cost as a concern. The costs of neglecting hearing loss, though, can be a lot higher because of complications and side effects that come with leaving it untreated. 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 due to aging or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body works to make up for it, leaving you feeling tired. Remember how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be completely focused on a task for prolonged time periods. You would probably feel fairly drained after you’re finished. When you are struggling to hear, it’s a similar scenario: when there are blanks spots in conversation, your brain has to work hard to substitute the missing information – which, when there is too much background noise, is even more difficult – and simply attempting to process information uses valuable energy. Taking care of yourself takes energy which you won’t have with this type of chronic exhaustion. To adapt, you will skip life-essential routines such as working out or eating healthy.
Decline of Cognitive Function
Numerous studies by Johns Hopkins University connected hearing loss to reduced cognitive functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. Even though these connections are not causation, they’re correlations, it’s theorized by researchers that, once again, the more often you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes cognitive resources, the less you have to focus on other things including memorization and comprehension. And declining brain function, as we age is, directly linked to an increased draw on our mental resources. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be lessened and mental fitness can be maintained by sustained exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. The fact that a link was discovered between hearing loss and a decline in cognitive functions is encouraging for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can collaborate to narrow down the factors and develop treatment options for these ailments.
Mental Health Problems
The National Council on the Aging carried out a study of 2,300 seniors who were dealing with some form of hearing loss and found that individuals who left their condition untreated were more likely to also be dealing with mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their social and emotional well-being. It is obvious that there is a connection between hearing loss and mental health issues since people who suffer from hearing loss often have a hard time communicating with other people in family or social situations. This can result in feelings of isolation, which can ultimately result in depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can surface due to these feelings of solitude and exclusion. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you need to contact a mental health professional and you should also know that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some kinds of depression.
Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one part stops functioning as it is supposed to, it might have a detrimental impact on another seemingly unrelated part. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. As a case in point, if blood flow from the heart to the inner ear is constrained, hearing loss may be the result. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause messages sent to the brain from the ear to become scrambled. If heart disease is disregarded serious or even potentially fatal consequences can occur. So if you have noticed some hearing loss and you have a history of heart disease or heart disease in your family you should consult both a cardiac and hearing specialist so that you can figure out if your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.
If you want to begin living a healthier life, contact us so we can help you address any negative effects of hearing loss that you may suffer.