Hearing loss is a normal part of getting older, unfortunately. Approximately 38 million people suffer from some kind of hearing loss in the United States, but a lot of people choose to just ignore it because it’s a normal part of aging. However, beyond a person’s ability to hear, their whole health can be negatively impacted if they ignore their hearing loss.
Why do so many people resist getting help for their hearing loss? According to an AARP study, More than half of seniors cited costs as the major concern while one third consider hearing loss as a small issue that can be easily handled. However, those costs can increase astronomically when you factor in the significant side effects and ailments that are brought on by ignoring hearing loss. Neglecting hearing loss has the following negative side effects.
Most people will not immediately connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will connect exhaustion to a number of different factors, such as slowing down based on aging or a side-effect of medication. The fact is that the less you are able to hear, the more your body works to compensate, leaving you feeling drained. Imagine you are taking an exam like the SAT where your brain is totally focused on processing the task at hand. When you’re finished, you most likely feel exhausted. When you struggle to hear, the same thing occurs: during conversations, your brain is trying to fill in the blanks – and when there is a lot of background sound this is even more overwhelming – and spends valuable energy just trying to process the discussion. This type of persistent exhaustion can affect your health by leaving you too run down to keep yourself healthy, leaving things like going to the gym or cooking healthy meals hard to accomplish.
Several studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these connections are not direct causations, they are correlations, researchers believe the more the blanks need to be filled in by the brain, the more the cognitive resources needed and the less you’ll have to focus on other things like memorization and comprehension. The decrease of brain function is sped up and there is a loss of grey matter with the additional draw on cognitive capacity that comes with growing older. The process of cognitive decline can be delayed and senior citizens can stay mentally fit by the regular exchange of ideas through conversation. The future for researchers is promising due to the discovery of a connection between the decline in cognitive function and loss of hearing, since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to pinpoint the causes and formulate treatments for these ailments.
Issues With Your Mental Health
The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 seniors who suffered some form of hearing loss and discovered that people who neglected their hearing problem had mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their social and emotional well-being. Since difficulty communicating with others in family and social situations is normal for those with hearing loss, the link between mental health problems and hearing loss seems logical. This can bring on depression after suffering from prolonged feelings of isolation. Due to these feelings of exclusion and isolation, anxiety and even paranoia can be the consequence, specifically if left untreated. It’s been shown that recovery from depression is helped by wearing hearing aids. But a mental health professional should still be contacted if you suffer from paranoia, depression, or anxiety.
All the different parts of our bodies are one interconnected machine – an evidently unconnected part can be impacted negatively if a different part stops working as it is supposed to. This is the case with our ears and hearts. As an example, when blood doesn’t flow freely from the heart to the inner ear, hearing loss will occur. Another disease that can impact the inner ear’s nerve ending, and is also linked to heart disease is diabetes which causes messages from the ear to the brain to get scrambled. In order to ascertain whether hearing loss is caused by heart disease or diabetes, if you have a family history of those illnesses consult both a hearing expert and a cardiac specialist because neglecting the symptoms can cause severe or even fatal repercussions.
Please reach out to us if you are experiencing any of the negative effects detailed above or if you have hearing loss so we can help you live a healthier life. Make your appointment for a hearing test.