It’s an unfortunate fact of life that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Roughly 38 million individuals suffer from hearing loss in the U . S ., though many people choose to disregard it because they look at it as just a part of getting older. Neglecting hearing loss, though, can have significant adverse side effects on a person’s entire well-being beyond their inability to hear.
Why is the choice to just live with hearing loss one that many people consider? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of seniors, a problem that’s minor and can be handled easily, while greater than half of the respondents cited cost as a problem. The costs of ignoring hearing loss, though, can be a lot higher as a result of conditions and side effects that come with leaving it untreated. What are the most common challenges 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 countless different ideas, such as slowing down due to aging or a side-effect of medication. But in reality, if you have to work harder to hear, it can drain your physical resources. Imagine you are taking a test such as the SAT where your brain is entirely focused on processing the task at hand. You would probably feel fairly depleted after you’re finished. The same situation occurs when you struggle to hear: your brain is working to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which is often made even harder when there is a lot of background noise – and just trying to process information consumes precious energy. Taking care of yourself requires energy which you won’t have with this kind of chronic fatigue. To adjust, you will skip life-essential activities like working out or eating healthy.
Hearing loss has been connected, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to decreased cognitive functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. Although these associations are not causation, they’re correlations, researchers believe that, again, the more often you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes cognitive resources, the less there are to give attention to other things like memorization and comprehension. And decreasing brain function, as we age is, directly connected to an increased draw on our cognitive resources. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be slowed and mental fitness can be preserved by sustained exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. The fact that a link between cognitive function and hearing loss was found is promising for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can collaborate to narrow down the causes and develop treatments for these conditions.
Issues With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of more than two thousand senior citizens, that mental health issues which have a negative social and emotional impact, are more prevalent if there is also untreated hearing loss. The link between hearing loss and mental health issues makes sense since, in social and family situations, individuals who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time communicating with others. Ultimately, feelings of separation could develop into depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if left untreated. Hearing aids have been proven to aid in the recovery from depression, although anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should talk to a mental health professional.
If one portion of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops working correctly, it might have an affect on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. Case in point, 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 affect the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause information sent from the ear to the brain to become scrambled. Individuals who have noticed 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 determine whether the hearing loss is indeed caused by a heart condition, since ignoring the symptoms might lead to severe, possibly fatal consequences.
If you want to start living a healthier life, contact us so we can help you solve any negative effects of hearing loss that you may suffer.