The regrettable truth is, as you get older, your hearing begins to go. Approximately 38 million people in the U.S. deal with some form of hearing loss, though because hearing loss is expected as we get older, many decide to just deal with it. But beyond how well you hear, disregarding hearing loss can have severe negative side effects.
Why do so many people choose to simply deal with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor concern that can be handled fairly easily, while more than half of the respondents cited cost as a concern. However, those costs can rise incredibly when you take into account the significant side effects and ailments that are brought on by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most likely adverse effects of ignoring hearing loss.
Most people will not immediately connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will attribute fatigue to countless different factors, like slowing down because of aging or a side-effect of medication. 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 had to be completely concentrated on a task for extended periods of time. You would most likely feel fairly drained when you’re done. The same situation takes place when you struggle to hear: your brain is trying 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 precious energy. This kind of chronic tiredness can affect your health by leaving you too tired to take care of yourself, cutting out things like going to the gym or cooking healthy meals.
Decline of Cognitive Function
A number of studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to reduced cognitive functions , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. Even though these associations are not causation, they’re correlations, it’s theorized by researchers that, once again, the more cognitive resources that are used attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you have to focus on other things including comprehension and memorization. And as people get older, the increased draw on mental resources can speed up the decline of other brain functions and can lead to loss of gray matter. Additionally, having a regular exchange of ideas and information, usually through conversation, is believed to help seniors stay mentally fit and can help slow the process of cognitive 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 pinpoint the causes and create treatment options for these ailments.
Mental Health Problems
The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of more than two thousand senior citizens, that mental health problems that have a negative emotional and social impact, are more prevalent if there is also neglected hearing loss. It is obvious that there’s a link between hearing loss and mental health problems since, in social and family situations, individuals who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time communicating with others. Ultimately, feelings of isolation could develop into depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you should consult a mental health professional and you also should know that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some forms of depression.
If one part of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops functioning properly, it could have an affect on seemingly unrelated bodily functions. 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 constrained, hearing loss may occur. Diabetes, which is also linked 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 severe or even possibly fatal repercussions can happen. So if you have noticed some hearing loss and you have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should contact both a hearing and a cardiac specialist so that you can figure out if your hearing loss is linked to a heart condition.
If you want to begin living a healthier life, contact us so we can help you resolve any negative effects of hearing loss that you might suffer.