Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

The unfortunate reality is, as you age, your hearing begins to fail. Roughly 38 million individuals in the United States suffer from some kind of hearing loss, though since hearing loss is expected as we age, many people decide to just deal with it. Ignoring hearing loss, though, can have major negative side effects on a person’s entire well-being beyond how well they hear.

Why is the choice to just cope with hearing loss one that lots of people choose? Based on an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor concern that can be dealt with easily enough, while greater than half of the respondents cited cost as a concern. The consequences of neglecting hearing loss, however, can become a great deal higher because of complications and side effects that come with leaving it untreated. Here are the most likely negative effects of neglecting hearing loss.

Fatigue

The majority of people will not instantly put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, instead, that they are slowing down due to the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. But in reality, if you need to work harder to hear, it can deplete your physical resources. Remember how tired you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be completely focused on a task for long periods of time. You would most likely feel fairly depleted when you’re done. When you are struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent situation: when there are blanks spots in conversation, your brain has to work extra hard to substitute the missing information – which is often made even harder when there’s lots of background noise – and just attempting to process information uses valuable energy. Looking after yourself requires energy which you won’t have with this type of chronic exhaustion. To adapt, you will avoid life-essential routines like working out or eating healthy.

Decline of Cognitive Function

Hearing loss has been connected, by a number of Johns Hopkins University studies, to decreased cognitive functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. Although these links are not causation, they’re correlations, scientists believe that, once again, the more often you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes mental resources, the less you have to give attention to other things like memorization and comprehension. And as people age, the increased draw on mental resources can speed up the decline of other brain functions and can lead to gray matter loss. On top of that, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be slowed and mental fitness can be preserved by sustained exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. Fortunately, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the recognized connection between mental decline and hearing loss to collaborate to undertake research and develop treatments that are encouraging in the near future.

Problems With Mental Health

The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 senior citizens who were dealing with some form of hearing loss and discovered that those who left their condition untreated were more likely to also suffer from mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their social and emotional happiness. The link between hearing loss and mental health issues makes sense since, in family and social situations, individuals who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time communicating with others. This can result in feelings of isolation, which can ultimately lead to depression. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can appear due to these feelings of solitude and exclusion. Hearing aids have been shown to help in the recovery from depression, although anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should consult with a mental health professional.

Cardiovascular Disease

If one part of your body, which is an interconnected machine, stops functioning correctly, it could have an impact on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the way it is 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. Diabetes, which is also linked to heart disease, can impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause information sent from the ear to the brain to get scrambled. Individuals who have detected some degree of hearing loss and who have a history of heart disease or diabetes in their families should contact both a hearing and cardiac specialist to ascertain whether the hearing loss is indeed caused by a heart condition, since neglecting the symptoms could lead to severe, possibly fatal repercussions.

If you suffer from hearing loss or are experiencing any of the adverse effects listed above, please reach out to us so we can help you live a healthier life.

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