The regrettable truth is, as you get older, your hearing begins to go. Roughly 38 million people in the United States suffer from some form of hearing loss, but because hearing loss is expected as we get older, many choose to leave it unchecked. But beyond the ability to hear, disregarding hearing loss will have serious negative side effects.
Why is the choice to simply cope with hearing loss one that many people consider? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of senior citizens, a problem that is minimal and can be managed easily, while cost was a concern for more than half of people who participated in the study. The consequences of ignoring hearing loss, though, can become a great deal higher because of conditions and side effects that come with ignoring it. What are the most common complications of neglecting hearing loss?
Most people will not immediately put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will blame their fatigue on several different factors, such as slowing down due to aging or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body works to make up for it, leaving you feeling tired. Remember how tired you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be totally focused on a task for long periods of time. You would probably feel quite drained when you’re done. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent situation: your brain is working to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there’s enough background noise, is even harder – and just trying to process information uses valuable energy. Looking after yourself requires energy which you won’t have with this kind of chronic fatigue. To adapt, you will skip life-essential activities like working out or eating healthy.
Decline of Brain Function
Several studies by Johns Hopkins University connected hearing loss to diminishe cognitive functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these connections are correlations, instead of causations, scientists think that, once again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which uses up mental resources, the less you have to give attention to other things including memorization and comprehension. And decreasing brain function, as we age is, directly linked to an increased draw on our mental resources. In addition, having a regular exchange of information and ideas, usually through conversation, is thought to help seniors stay mentally fit and can help decrease the process of mental decline. 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 ailments.
Mental Health Issues
The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of over two thousand seniors, that mental health issues which have a negative emotional and social impact, are more prevalent if there is also untreated hearing loss. It makes sense that there is a connection between mental health and hearing loss issues since people who suffer from hearing loss often have a hard time communicating with others in family or social situations. Ultimately, feelings of separation could become depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you need to contact a mental health professional and you also should be aware that hearing aids have been proven to help people recover from some kinds of depression.
Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one part stops working like 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 happen when blood does not easily flow from the heart to the inner ear. Another affliction connected to heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and sometimes causes the brain to receive scrambled information. If heart disease is ignored serious or even potentially fatal repercussions can occur. So if you’ve noticed some hearing loss and 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 whether your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.
If you deal with hearing loss or are going through any of the adverse repercussions listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you have a healthier life.