Are you taken aback to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the means of hearing, so the harm done to them due to aging, trauma or disease is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there’s more to it than the loss of one’s hearing bleeds into many other facets of their life. It is a dramatic change for someone who has always been able to hear. Consider some ways that hearing loss has a significant effect on more than just the ears.
A 2006 report released by the Australian firm Access Economics states there is a connection between salary potential and hearing. They found that an individual with hearing loss will potentially make about 25 percent less than those that do hear, but why?
There are a lot of things that could impact earnings. Somebody who works without any hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid might miss out on crucial information. They may show up for a business meeting at 4 if it was actually at 2 pm, for instance. Employers tend to value those with shrewd attention to detail, which is a challenge when you can’t hear the details.
Work environments can be loud and crazy, too. A individual with hearing loss can quickly become confused with that noise around them. They’ll struggle to talk on the phone, to listen to clients and to understand what coworkers are saying because in a loud environment the desktop sounds like clicking keyboards or an air conditioner engine become conspicuous.
Some of the very same problems at work become an issue at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, especially when the person with the problem continues to deny it. Little things like saying “what” a lot during conversations and turning the TV up too loud irritate friends, family members, and spouses.
They may try to intervene and encourage this individual to recognize their hearing loss, which leads to friction, as well. It’s very common for someone with hearing loss to detach themselves and refuse to go out and spend time with others. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so that they so what the can to prevent them.
Mental Health Concerns
The issues at work and home take a toll on mental health over time. A 2014 study conducted by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders discovered a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and depression. Their research indicates an increased risk of depression, especially among women and people under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to approximately 11 percent with hearing loss.
A second study by the Senior Research Group indicates that the risk of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a person with hearing loss does not use hearing aids. The study participants who did not wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of despair to sudden fits of anger more often than those that did wear them.
Security is always an issue for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, while it is a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alarm, work based on sound. They emit a high-frequency noise when there’s a danger. Even people with slight hearing loss can have trouble hearing high pitched tones.
Personal safety becomes a problem when a individual with hearing loss crosses the road or drives a car, too. Sound serves to signal problems like a car coming down the street or a horn honking.
Medical science has made a connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss. It’s not clear why people with hearing loss have a higher risk of dementia. The current theory is that the mind struggles to listen and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like memory.
A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that someone with minor hearing loss is twice as likely to develop dementia. Moderate hearing loss increases the risk by three times and a person with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Hearing health is just 1 factor in memory loss conditions, but it is an important one.
When someone has hearing loss, it’s true there is likely something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it starts. The fantastic news is that getting help in the form of hearing aids and other treatment choices lowers the risk of mental health problems, dementia and the various issues associated with hearing decline.