Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

It’s an unfortunate truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Approximately 38 million people in the U.S. suffer from some kind of hearing loss, though since hearing loss is expected as we age, many choose to ignore it. Neglecting hearing loss, though, can have serious adverse side effects on a person’s over-all well-being beyond their inability to hear.

Why is the decision to simply ignore hearing loss one that lots of people consider? Based on an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens think of hearing loss as a minor concern that can be dealt with fairly easily, while cost was a worry for more than half of people who took part in the study. However, those costs can rise astronomically when you factor in the serious adverse reactions and ailments that are triggered by neglecting hearing loss. What are the most common complications of ignoring hearing loss?

Fatigue

Most people will not instantly connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, rather, that they are slowing down because of the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. The fact is that the less you can hear, the more your body struggles to make up for it, leaving you feeling tired. Imagine you are taking an exam like the SAT where your brain is completely concentrated on processing the task at hand. Once you’re finished, you probably feel exhausted. The same thing occurs when you struggle to hear: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain needs to work hard to fill in the missing information – which is usually made even more difficult when there’s a lot of background noise – and just attempting to process information uses valuable energy. Taking care of yourself requires energy which you won’t have with this kind of chronic exhaustion. To adapt, you will avoid life-essential activities such as working out or eating healthy.

Decline of Brain Function

Hearing loss has been connected, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe brain functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. Even though these connections are not causation, they’re correlations, it’s theorized by researchers that, again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes mental resources, the less you have to focus on other things like memorization and comprehension. And declining brain function, as we get older is, directly connected to an increased draw on our mental resources. What’s more, engaging in a routine exchange of information and ideas, often through conversation, is believed to help seniors stay mentally fit and can help slow the process of mental decline. The fact that a connection between cognitive function and hearing loss was found is promising for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to narrow down the causes and create treatment options for these conditions.

Problems With Mental Health

The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of more than two thousand seniors, that mental health problems which have a negative emotional and social impact, are more prevalent if there is also neglected hearing loss. The connection between mental health issues and hearing loss adds up since people who suffer from hearing loss frequently have difficulty communicating with other people in social or family situations. Eventually, feelings of isolation could become depression. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can surface due to these feelings of isolation and exclusion. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you need to talk to a mental health professional and you also should know that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some kinds of depression.

Heart Disease

Our bodies are one coordinated machine – if one component stops functioning like it is supposed to, it may have a detrimental impact on another apparently unrelated part. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. As a case in point, if blood flow from the heart to the inner ear is constrained, hearing loss may happen. Another affliction connected to heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and sometimes causes the brain to get scrambled information. If heart disease is neglected severe or even possibly fatal repercussions can happen. So if you have detected some hearing loss and you have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should consult both a hearing and a cardiac specialist in order to figure out if your hearing loss is linked to a heart condition.

If you want to start living a healthier life, contact us so we can help you address any adverse effects of hearing loss that you might suffer.

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