Hearing loss depicted as a problem that compounds by showing several cutout men toppled over on one man.

Are you surprised to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the tools of hearing, so the damage done to them because of aging, injury or disease is why someone can not hear, but did you know there’s more to it than that The loss of one’s hearing bleeds into many other facets of their life. It’s a dramatic change for someone who has always been able to hear. Consider some ways that hearing loss has a significant impact on more than just the ears.

Earning Ability

A 2006 report released by the Australian company Access Economics states there’s a link between earning potential and hearing. They discovered that an individual with hearing loss could potentially make about 25 percent less than those that do listen, but why?

There are many things that could impact earnings. Somebody who works with no hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid might miss out on weighty material. They might show up for a company meeting at 4 if it was actually at 2 pm, for example. Employers tend to value those with keen attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can not hear the specifics.

Working environments can be loud and chaotic, too. A individual with hearing loss can become confused with that sound around them. They will struggle to speak on the telephone, to listen to clients and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a loud environment the desktop sounds like clicking keyboards or an air conditioner engine become pronounced.

Relationships

Some of the very same problems at work become an issue at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, particularly when the individual with the problem continues to deny it. Little things such as saying “what” a lot during discussions and turning the TV up too loud irritate friends, relatives, and spouses.

They may attempt to intervene and encourage this person to recognize their hearing loss, and that leads to friction, as well. It is extremely common for people with hearing loss to sequester themselves and refuse to go out and spend some time with other people. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so that they so what the can to avoid them.

Mental Health Concerns

The issues at work and home take a toll on mental health over time. A 2014 study conducted by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders discovered a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and melancholy. Their study suggests an increased risk of depression, especially among women and people under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to about 11 percent with hearing loss.

A second study from the Senior Research Group indicates that the chance of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a individual with hearing loss doesn’t use hearing aids. The study participants who didn’t wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of despair to sudden fits of anger more frequently than those who did wear them.

Safety Issues

Safety is always a concern for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, while it is a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alert, work based on sound. They exude a high-frequency noise when there is a danger. Even people with minor hearing loss can have difficulty hearing high pitched tones.

Personal security becomes an issue when a person with hearing loss spans the road or drives a car, too. Sound serves to indicate problems like a car coming down the road or a horn honking.

Cognitive Functioning

Medical science has made a connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss. It isn’t clear why people with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The current theory is that the brain struggles to listen and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like short-term memory.

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that a person with minor hearing loss is twice as likely to develop dementia. Moderate hearing loss increases the risk by three times and an individual with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Hearing health is just 1 factor in memory loss conditions, but it is an important one.

When a person has hearing loss, it’s true there’s likely something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it starts. The good news is that getting help in the kind of hearing aids and other treatment choices lowers the risk of mental health issues, dementia and the various issues associated with hearing decline.