Loss of hearing is a normal part of aging, unfortunately. Approximately 38 million people suffer from some kind of hearing loss in the United States, but a lot of people choose to just neglect it because it’s a normal part of getting older. Ignoring hearing loss, however, can have serious negative side effects on a person’s entire health beyond their inability to hear.
Why do many people choose to simply live with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, More than half of seniors cited costs as the major worry while one third regard hearing loss as a minor issue that can be easily handled. However, those costs can increase astronomically when you factor in the serious side effects and conditions that are caused 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 attribute tiredness to a number of other factors, such as slowing down due to aging or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you can hear, the more your body works to compensate, leaving you feeling drained. Imagine you are taking a test such as the SAT where your brain is completely focused on processing the task at hand. Once you’re done, you most likely feel depleted. The same thing occurs when you struggle to hear: during conversations, your brain is working to fill in the blanks – and when there is a lot of background sound this is even more overwhelming – and uses up precious energy just attempting to process the discussion. Your health can be affected by this type of persistent exhaustion and you can be left so run down you keep yourself healthy, skipping out on things like going to the gym or cooking healthy meals.
Johns Hopkins University conducted a study that linked hearing loss to , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. Although these links are correlations instead of causations, it’s believed by researchers that the more cognitive resources expended trying to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you’ll have to dedicate to other things like comprehension and memorization. And as people age, the greater draw on cognitive resources can speed up the decrease of other brain functions and contribute to gray matter loss. Additionally, having a frequent exchange of information and ideas, often through conversation, is thought to help senior citizens stay mentally tuned and can help delay the process of cognitive decline. The future for researchers is promising due to the discovery of a connection between the decrease in cognitive function and loss of hearing, since cognitive and hearing experts can work together to pinpoint the causes and develop treatments for these conditions.
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 those who ignored their hearing condition had mental health troubles such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their emotional and social well-being. The link between hearing loss and mental health issues makes sense since people with hearing loss commonly have trouble communicating with others in social or family scenarios. This can lead to depression after suffering from prolonged feelings of seclusion. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can surface due to these feelings of loneliness and exclusion. Hearing aids have been shown to assist in the recovery from depression, however, anyone who has depression, anxiety, or paranoia should seek advice from with a mental health professional.
All the parts of our bodies are one interconnected machine – an evidently unconnected part can be affected negatively if a different part quits 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, loss of hearing will occur. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can affect the inner ear’s nerve endings and scramble messages from the ear to the brain. In order to find out whether hearing loss is caused by heart disease or diabetes, if you have a family history of those illnesses contact both a hearing expert and a cardiac specialist because neglecting the symptoms can lead to serious or even fatal repercussions.
Please get in touch with us if you are experiencing any of the negative effects listed above or if you suffer from hearing loss so we can help you live a healthier life. Schedule your appointment now.