Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

The unfortunate truth is, as you get older, your hearing begins to go. Approximately 38 million individuals cope with hearing loss in the United States, though many people decide to ignore it because they think about it as just a part of getting older. But beyond the ability to hear, disregarding hearing loss will have severe negative side effects.

Why do many people decide to simply accept hearing loss? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of seniors, an issue that is minor and can be handled easily, while more than half of the participants cited cost as a problem. But, those costs can increase astronomically when you factor in the significant adverse reactions and conditions that are brought about by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most common negative effects of ignoring hearing loss.

Fatigue

Most people won’t instantly put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will attribute fatigue to several different factors, like slowing down due to aging or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you can hear, the more your body struggles to compensate for it, leaving you feeling tired. Remember how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be completely focused on a task for extended periods of time. Once you’re done, you likely feel drained. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent situation: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain needs to work extra hard to fill in the missing information – which is often made even harder when there is lots of background noise – and consumes precious energy just trying to manage the conversation. This kind of chronic fatigue can affect your health by leaving you too tired to care for yourself, cutting out things like going to the gym or cooking healthy meals.

Decline of Brain Function

Countless studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to decreased cognitive functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these links are correlations, not causations, scientists think that, 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 including comprehension and memorization. And decreasing brain function, as we get older is, directly connected to an increased draw on our mental resources. On top of that, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be lessened and mental fitness can be preserved by a continued exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. The fact that a link was discovered between hearing loss and a decline in cognitive functions is promising for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to pinpoint the causes and create treatment options for these ailments.

Mental Health Problems

The National Council on the Aging carried out a study of 2,300 senior citizens who were dealing with some form of hearing loss and found that people who neglected their condition were more likely to also be dealing with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their emotional and social happiness. The link between mental health issues and hearing loss adds up since, in family and social situations, individuals who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time interacting with others. Eventually, feelings of isolation could develop into depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can surface due to these feelings of solitude and exclusion. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you should consult a mental health professional and you also should be aware that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some forms of depression.

Heart Disease

If one portion of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops functioning correctly, it could have an impact on seemingly 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 constrained, hearing loss may be the result. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause messages sent from the ear to the brain to get scrambled. People who have noticed some amount of hearing loss and who have a history of diabetes or heart disease in their families should consult with both a hearing and cardiac specialist to determine whether the hearing loss is actually caused by a heart condition, since ignoring the symptoms could lead to severe, possibly fatal repercussions.

If you deal with hearing loss or are going through any of the adverse effects listed above, please get in touch with us so we can help you have a healthier life.

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