The unfortunate reality is, as you get older, your hearing begins to go. Roughly 38 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of hearing loss, but since hearing loss is expected as we age, many choose to ignore it. Disregarding hearing loss, though, can have major adverse side effects on a person’s entire well-being beyond their inability to hear.
Why is the choice to just cope with hearing loss one that lots of people choose? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of senior citizens, a problem that is minimal and can be dealt with easily, while price was a worry for more than half of those who took part in the study. The consequences of ignoring hearing loss, though, can be a lot higher due to complications and side effects that come with leaving it untreated. What are the most prevalent challenges of neglecting hearing loss?
The dots will not be connected by most people from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will blame their fatigue on several different factors, like slowing down because of aging or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you can hear, the more your body struggles to compensate for it, leaving you feeling drained. Remember how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be totally focused on a task for prolonged periods of time. You would most likely feel fairly drained after you’re finished. The same thing happens when you struggle to hear: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain has to work extra hard to fill in the missing information – which, when there is too much background noise, is even harder – and just trying to process information uses valuable energy. This type of chronic fatigue can impact your health by leaving you too tired to take care of yourself, skipping out on things like going to the gym or cooking wholesome meals.
Decline of Brain Function
Several studies by Johns Hopkins University connected hearing loss to diminishe brain functions , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. Although these links are not causation, they’re correlations, it’s theorized by researchers that, again, the more cognitive resources that are used attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you have to give attention to other things including comprehension and memorization. And decreasing brain function, as we get older is, directly linked to an increased draw on our cognitive resources. What’s more, having a routine exchange of ideas and information, usually through conversation, is thought to help seniors remain mentally fit and can help decrease the process of mental decline. The fact that a connection 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 narrow down the factors and develop treatments for these ailments.
Mental Health Problems
The National Council on the Aging performed a study of 2,300 senior citizens who suffered some form of hearing loss and discovered that individuals who neglected their condition were more likely to also be dealing with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their social and emotional happiness. The link between hearing loss and mental health issues adds up since, in social and family situations, people who suffer from hearing loss have a difficult time interacting with others. Eventually, feelings of isolation could develop into depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can worsen to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. Hearing aids have been shown to aid in the recovery from depression, though anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should talk to a mental health professional.
Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one part stops functioning as it is supposed to, it could have a detrimental affect on another seemingly unrelated part. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. As a case in point, if blood flow from the heart to the inner ear is restricted, hearing loss could occur. Another affliction associated with heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and can cause the brain to receive scrambled information. People who have detected some amount of hearing loss and who have a history of diabetes or heart disease in their families should contact both a hearing and cardiac specialist to ascertain whether the hearing loss is indeed caused by a heart condition, since overlooking the symptoms might lead to serious, possibly fatal repercussions.
If you deal with hearing loss or are going through any of the adverse effects listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you have a healthier life.