Hearing loss depicted as a problem that compounds by showing several cutout men toppled over on one man.

Are you amazed to learn that hearing loss is more than just your ears? Ears are the tools of hearing, so the damage done to them because of aging, trauma or disease is why someone can not hear, but did you know there’s more to it than the loss of one’s hearing bleeds into many other aspects of their life. It is a dramatic change for somebody who has always been able to hear. Consider some ways that hearing loss has a profound impact on more than just the ears.

Earning Ability

A 2006 report published by the Australian firm Access Economics states there is a link between salary potential and hearing. They discovered that an individual with hearing loss could possibly make about 25 percent less than those that do hear, but why?

There are a lot of things that could affect earnings. Somebody who works with no hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid may miss out on crucial material. They might appear for a business meeting at 4 when it was really at 2 pm, for example. Managers tend to appreciate those with astute attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can’t hear the details.

Work environments can be loud and chaotic, too. A person with hearing loss can quickly become confused with all that sound around them. They’ll struggle to talk on the telephone, to listen to clients and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a noisy environment the desktop sounds like clicking keyboards or an air conditioner vent become conspicuous.

Relationships

Some of the very same problems at work become a problem 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, relatives, and spouses.

They may try to intervene and encourage this individual to recognize their hearing loss, which leads to friction, also. It’s extremely common for people with hearing loss to sequester themselves and refuse to go out and spend some 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 found a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and melancholy. Their research indicates an increased risk of depression, particularly among girls and people under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to about 11 percent with hearing loss.

A second study from the Senior Research Group suggests that the risk of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a individual with hearing loss doesn’t use hearing aids. The study participants who did not wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of despair to sudden fits of anger more frequently than those that did wear them.

Safety Issues

Security is always a concern for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, whether it’s a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alert, work based on sound. They emit a high-frequency noise if there is a danger. Even people with minor hearing loss can have difficulty 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.

Cognitive Functioning

Medical science has made a connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss. It’s not clear why people with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The current theory is that the brain struggles to hear and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like short-term memory.

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that even a person with minor hearing loss is twice as likely to develop dementia. Moderate hearing loss increases the risk by three times and an individual with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Hearing health is just one 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 good news is that getting help in the kind of hearing aids and other treatment choices reduces the chance of mental health issues, dementia and the different issues associated with hearing decline.

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