The regrettable reality is, as you age, your hearing begins to fail. Roughly 38 million individuals in the U.S. suffer from some kind of hearing loss, though since hearing loss is anticipated as we age, many choose to leave it unchecked. But beyond how well you 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 consider? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor problem that can be dealt with fairly easily, while greater than half of the participants reported cost as a concern. The consequences of ignoring hearing loss, however, can become a great deal higher because of complications and side effects that come with ignoring it. What are the most common challenges of ignoring 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 in reality, if you need to work harder to hear, it can drain your physical resources. Remember how tired you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be completely focused on a task for extended periods of time. Once you’re done, you likely feel exhausted. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent situation: your brain is trying 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 valuable energy. This type of chronic fatigue can impact your health by leaving you too tired to take care of yourself, cutting out things like working out or cooking wholesome meals.
A number of studies by Johns Hopkins University connected hearing loss to diminishe brain functions , accelerated loss of brain tissue, and dementia. Although these links are not causation, they’re correlations, scientists believe that, once again, the more mental resources that are used trying to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to give attention to other things including comprehension and memorization. And as people age, the increased draw on mental resources can speed up the decline of other brain functions and worsen gray matter loss. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be slowed and mental wellness can be preserved by sustained exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. Fortunately, cognitive specialists and hearing professionals can use the known link between cognitive decline and hearing loss to collaborate to carry out research and establish treatments that are encouraging in the near future.
Concerns With Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of over two thousand senior citizens, that mental health problems that have a negative emotional and social impact, are more common if there is also neglected hearing loss. It makes sense that there is a connection between mental health and hearing loss issues since, in family and social situations, individuals who cope with hearing loss have a hard time interacting with others. Eventually, feelings of separation could develop into depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can worsen to anxiety and even paranoia if left untreated. Hearing aids have been shown to aid in the recovery from depression, though anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should contact a mental health professional.
If one part of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops functioning correctly, it might have an impact on seemingly unrelated bodily functions. This is the case with our hearts and ears. Case in point, hearing loss will happen when blood doesn’t flow easily 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 messages sent to the brain from the ear to become scrambled. If heart disease is neglected serious or even potentially fatal repercussions can happen. So if you’ve detected some hearing loss and have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should consult both a hearing and a cardiac specialist in order to determine if your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.
If you have hearing loss or are going through any of the adverse effects listed above, please reach out to us so we can help you have a healthier life.