It’s an unfortunate fact of life that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Roughly 38 million individuals in the U.S. deal with some kind of hearing loss, but because hearing loss is expected as we age, many people choose to just deal with it. But beyond the ability to hear, disregarding hearing loss will have severe adverse side effects.
Why do so many people decide to simply deal with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of seniors, an issue that’s minor and can be managed easily, while price was a concern for more than half of people who took part in the study. The consequences of neglecting hearing loss, though, can be a lot higher because of conditions and side effects that come with leaving it untreated. Here are the most common negative effects of neglecting hearing loss.
The majority of people won’t immediately put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will blame their fatigue on several different ideas, such as slowing down due to aging or a side-effect of medication. The fact is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body struggles to make up for it, leaving you feeling drained. Think about taking an exam such as the SAT where your brain is totally focused on processing the task in front of you. Once you’re done, you probably feel drained. When you are struggling to hear, it’s a similar scenario: when there are blanks spots in conversation, your brain has to work hard to substitute the missing information – which, when there is enough background noise, is even harder – and just trying to process information uses precious energy. This kind of chronic fatigue can affect your health by leaving you too tired to care for yourself, skipping out on things like working out or cooking healthy meals.
Decline of Brain Function
Hearing loss has been linked, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to reduced brain functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these links are correlations, instead of causations, researchers believe that, again, the more cognitive resources that are spent trying to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to give attention to other things like comprehension and memorization. And as people age, the increased draw on mental resources can accelerate the decline of other brain functions and can lead to gray matter loss. Moreover, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be lessened and mental fitness can be preserved by sustained exchange of ideas, usually through conversation. Fortunately, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the recognized connection between mental decline and hearing loss to work together to undertake research and establish treatments that are promising in the near future.
Mental Health Issues
The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of more than two thousand senior citizens, that mental health problems that have a negative social and emotional impact, are more common if there is also untreated hearing loss. The connection between mental health issues and hearing loss seems logical since people with hearing loss frequently have difficulty communicating with other people in social or family situations. This can lead to feelings of separation, which can ultimately result in depression. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can appear as a result of these feelings of separation and exclusion. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you need to contact a mental health professional and you should also be aware that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some kinds of depression.
If one part of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops working correctly, it might have an affect on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the case with our hearts and ears. Case in point, hearing loss will happen when blood doesn’t flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. 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 noticed some amount of hearing loss and who have a history of diabetes or heart disease in their families should consult with both a hearing and cardiac specialist to figure out whether the hearing loss is actually caused by a heart condition, since overlooking the symptoms might lead to serious, possibly fatal repercussions.
If you want to begin living a healthier life, contact us so we can help you address any negative effects of hearing loss that you might suffer.