It’s a regrettable truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Approximately 38 million people suffer from hearing loss in the U . S ., though many people decide to ignore it because they look at it as just a part of aging. But beyond the ability to hear, ignoring hearing loss can have severe negative side effects.
Why do so many people choose to simply accept hearing loss? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor concern that can be handled fairly easily, while more than half of the respondents reported cost as a concern. The costs of neglecting hearing loss, though, can be a lot higher as a result 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. 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 have to work extra hard to hear, it can drain your physical resources. Think about taking a test such as the SAT where your brain is totally concentrated on processing the task in front of you. Once you’re done, you probably feel exhausted. The same situation takes place when you struggle to hear: when there are blanks spots in conversation, your brain has to work hard to substitute the missing information – which is usually made even harder when there is a lot of background noise – and consumes valuable energy just trying to manage the conversation. This kind of chronic exhaustion can impact your health by leaving you too tired to take care of yourself, skipping out on things like working out or cooking wholesome meals.
Decline of Brain Function
Hearing loss has been connected, by numerous Johns Hopkins University studies, to reduced cognitive functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. Even though these connections are not causation, they’re correlations, scientists think that, once again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes cognitive resources, the less you have to give attention to other things like comprehension and memorization. And as people get older, the increased draw on cognitive resources can accelerate the decline of other brain functions and can lead to gray matter loss. On top of that, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be lessened and mental fitness can be maintained by a continued 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 work together to narrow down the factors and develop treatment options for these ailments.
Issues With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of more than two thousand seniors, that mental health issues which have a negative social and emotional impact, are more prevalent if there is also untreated hearing loss. It makes sense that there’s a connection between mental health and hearing loss issues since, in social and family situations, people who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time communicating with others. Eventually, feelings of isolation could become depression. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can appear as a result of these feelings of isolation and exclusion. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you need to talk to a mental health professional and you should also know that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some types of depression.
Our bodies are one coordinated machine – if one component stops functioning as it should, it may have a negative impact on another seemingly unrelated part. This is the situation 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 impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause messages sent from the ear to the brain to get scrambled. If heart disease is neglected severe or even potentially fatal consequences can occur. So if you have noticed some hearing loss and have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should consult both a cardiac and hearing specialist in order to determine if your hearing loss is linked to a heart condition.
If you want to begin living a healthier life, reach out to us so we can help you solve any negative effects of hearing loss that you might suffer.