The unfortunate truth is, as you age, your hearing begins to fail. Approximately 38 million people suffer from hearing loss in the U . S ., though many people decide to ignore it because they think about it as just a part of getting older. But beyond the ability to hear, ignoring hearing loss will have severe negative side effects.
Why is the choice to simply live with hearing loss one that lots of people choose? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor problem that can be handled fairly easily, while more than half of the participants cited cost as a concern. The consequences of neglecting hearing loss, though, can become a great deal higher as a result of complications and adverse reactions that come with ignoring it. Here are the most likely negative consequences of ignoring hearing loss.
The majority of people won’t immediately connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, instead, that they are slowing down due to the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. But in reality, if you need to work extra hard to hear, it can deplete your physical resources. Think about taking a test like the SAT where your brain is completely concentrated on processing the task at hand. Once you’re finished, you likely feel drained. The same thing happens when you struggle to hear: your brain is working to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there is enough background noise, is even harder – and consumes precious energy just trying to process the conversation. This kind of chronic tiredness can affect your health by leaving you too tired to care for yourself, skipping out on things like going to the gym or cooking healthy meals.
Decline of Cognitive Function
Hearing loss has been linked, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to reduced cognitive functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. Although these associations are not causation, they’re correlations, it’s believed 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 comprehension and memorization. And decreasing brain function, as we get older is, directly connected to an increased draw on our cognitive resources. On top of that, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be slowed and mental fitness can be maintained by sustained exchange of ideas, usually through conversation. The fact that a connection was discovered between hearing loss and a decline in cognitive functions is encouraging for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to pinpoint the causes and develop treatment options for these conditions.
Issues With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of more than two thousand senior citizens, that mental health problems that have a negative social and emotional affect, are more common if there is also neglected hearing loss. The link between mental health issues and hearing loss makes sense since, in family and social situations, people who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time interacting with others. Ultimately, feelings of separation could become depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can worsen to anxiety and even paranoia if left untreated. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you need to consult a mental health professional and you also should know that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some types of depression.
Our bodies are one coordinated machine – if one part stops working like it should, 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 occur when blood doesn’t flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause messages sent from the ear to the brain to become scrambled. If heart disease is ignored serious or even possibly fatal repercussions can occur. So if you have noticed some hearing loss and have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should seek advice from both a cardiac and hearing specialist so that you can figure out whether your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.
If you suffer from hearing loss or are going through any of the negative effects listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you live a healthier life.