The Adverse Impacts of Neglecting Hearing Loss

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Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

The unfortunate reality is, as you age, your hearing starts to go. Approximately 38 million individuals cope with hearing loss in the U . S ., though many people choose to ignore it because they consider it as just a part of aging. But beyond how well you hear, ignoring hearing loss will have serious adverse side effects.

Why do many people choose to simply deal with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens think of hearing loss as a minor problem that can be handled easily enough, while cost was a worry for more than half of those who took part in the study. However, those costs can go up incredibly when you take into account the serious adverse reactions and conditions that are brought about by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most likely adverse effects of ignoring hearing loss.

Fatigue

Most 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 need to work harder to hear, it can drain your physical resources. Think about taking a test like the SAT where your brain is totally focused on processing the task at hand. Once you’re finished, you probably feel exhausted. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent scenario: your brain is working to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there is enough background noise, is even more difficult – and consumes precious energy just attempting to manage the conversation. This type of chronic tiredness can affect your health by leaving you too tired to take care of yourself, skipping out on things like going to the gym or cooking wholesome meals.

Mental Decline

Several studies conducted by Johns Hopkins University connected hearing loss to diminishe brain functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. Although these associations are not causation, they’re correlations, researchers believe that, once again, the more cognitive resources that are spent attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you have to focus on other things like memorization and comprehension. And decreasing brain function, as we get older is, directly linked to an additional draw on our mental resources. What’s more, engaging in a routine exchange of information and ideas, usually through conversation, is thought to help seniors remain mentally fit and can help slow the process of cognitive decline. Luckily, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the recognized connection between mental decline and hearing loss to work together to carry out research and develop treatments that are encouraging in the near future.

Issues With Mental Health

The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of over two thousand senior citizens, that mental health issues which have a negative social and emotional affect, are more prevalent if there is also neglected hearing loss. It is obvious that there is a link between hearing loss and mental health issues since, in family and social situations, individuals who suffer from hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can ultimately lead to depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if left untreated. Hearing aids have been shown to help in the recovery from depression, though anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should contact a mental health professional.

Cardiovascular Disease

If one part of your body, which is an interconnected machine, stops working correctly, it might have an affect on seemingly unrelated bodily functions. This is the case with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will occur when blood does not easily flow 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 information sent to the brain from the ear to become scrambled. People who have detected some amount 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 ascertain whether the hearing loss is indeed caused by a heart condition, since ignoring the symptoms could lead to serious, possibly fatal consequences.

If you want to start living a healthier life, contact us so we can help you address any negative effects of hearing loss that you might suffer.

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