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 U.S. deal with some kind of hearing loss, though because hearing loss is anticipated as we get older, many people choose to ignore it. Ignoring hearing loss, though, can have serious adverse side effects on a person’s over-all well-being beyond how well they hear.

Why is the choice to just ignore hearing loss one that many people consider? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of seniors, an issue that is minimal and can be dealt with easily, while greater than half of the respondents reported cost as a concern. But, those costs can increase astronomically when you take into account the serious side effects and conditions that are brought about by neglecting hearing loss. What are the most prevalent 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 due to the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. The reality is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body struggles to make up for it, leaving you feeling exhausted. Recall how tired you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be totally concentrated on a task for extended time periods. Once you’re finished, you probably feel drained. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent situation: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain has to work hard to fill in the missing information – which, when there is too much background noise, is even harder – and consumes precious energy just trying to manage the conversation. Looking after yourself requires energy which you won’t have with this type of chronic exhaustion. To adjust, you will skip life-essential activities like working out or eating healthy.

Cognitive Decline

Hearing loss has been connected, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to decreased brain functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these links are correlations, not causations, scientists think that, again, the more cognitive resources that are spent attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to focus on other things like memorization and comprehension. And decreasing brain function, as we get older is, directly connected to an additional draw on our mental resources. What’s more, engaging in a routine exchange of ideas and information, usually through conversation, is thought to help seniors remain mentally fit and can help delay the process of cognitive decline. Luckily, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the recognized connection between mental decline and hearing loss to work together to undertake research and develop treatments that are promising in the near future.

Problems With Mental Health

The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of more than two thousand seniors, that mental health problems that have a negative social and emotional affect, are more common if there is also untreated hearing loss. It makes sense that there is a link between hearing loss and mental health issues since, in social and family situations, individuals who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time communicating with others. Ultimately, feelings of separation could become depression. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can appear as a result of these feelings of solitude and exclusion. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you should contact a mental health professional and you should also know that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some types of depression.

Cardiovascular Disease

If one portion of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops functioning correctly, it could have an affect on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the case with our hearts and ears. As a case in point, if blood flow from the heart to the inner ear is restricted, hearing loss could happen. Another condition 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 signals. If heart disease is disregarded severe or even potentially fatal consequences can occur. So if you’ve noticed some hearing loss and you have a history of heart disease or heart disease in your family you should seek advice from both a hearing and a cardiac specialist so that you can figure out if your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.

If you deal with hearing loss or are experiencing any of the adverse repercussions listed above, please contact us for a consultation so we can help you have a healthier life.

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