Hearing Health Blog

Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

The regrettable truth is, as you get older, your hearing begins to fail. Approximately 38 million people cope with hearing loss in the United States, but many decide to ignore it because they look at it as just a part of aging. But beyond how well you hear, disregarding hearing loss will have serious negative side effects.

Why is the choice to just live with hearing loss one that many people choose? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens think of hearing loss as a minor problem that can be dealt with fairly easily, while greater than half of the participants reported cost as a concern. But, those costs can go up incredibly when you factor in the serious side effects and ailments that are triggered by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most prevalent negative consequences of ignoring hearing loss.

Fatigue

The dots will not be connected by most people from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, rather, that they are slowing down due to the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. The fact is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body works to compensate for it, leaving you feeling tired. Imagine you are taking a test like the SAT where your brain is entirely focused on processing the task in front of you. Once you’re finished, you likely feel drained. The same thing occurs when you struggle to hear: your brain is trying to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which is usually made even harder when there is a lot of background noise – and simply trying to process information consumes precious energy. This type of chronic exhaustion can affect your health by leaving you too tired to care for yourself, cutting out things like going to the gym or cooking wholesome meals.

Cognitive Decline

Several studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to diminishe cognitive functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. Even though these links are not causation, they’re correlations, it’s believed by researchers that, again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes cognitive resources, the less there are to give attention to other things including comprehension and memorization. And as people get older, the increased draw on cognitive resources can accelerate the decline of other brain functions and contribute to gray matter loss. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be lessened and mental wellness can be preserved by a continued exchange of ideas, usually through conversation. The fact that a link was discovered between hearing loss and a decline in cognitive functions is promising for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to pinpoint the factors and develop treatments for these conditions.

Mental Health Problems

The National Council on the Aging carried out a study of 2,300 senior citizens who suffered some form of hearing loss and discovered that people who neglected their condition were more likely to also be dealing with mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their emotional and social happiness. It makes sense that there’s a connection between mental health and hearing loss issues since people who suffer from hearing loss often have a hard time communicating with other people in social or family situations. Eventually, feelings of separation could become depression. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can appear as a result of these feelings of solitude and exclusion. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you should consult a mental health professional and you also should be aware that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some forms of depression.

Heart Disease

If one portion of your body, which is an interconnected machine, stops functioning properly, it might have an affect on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will happen 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 messages sent to the brain from the ear to become scrambled. If heart disease is ignored severe or even potentially fatal repercussions can occur. So if you have noticed some hearing loss and you have a history of heart disease or heart disease in your family you should seek advice from both a hearing and a cardiac specialist so that you can determine if your hearing loss is linked to a heart condition.

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 may suffer.

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