Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

The unfortunate truth is, as you get older, your hearing begins to fail. Roughly 38 million individuals cope with hearing loss in the United States, but many people choose to disregard it because they consider it as just a part of aging. Ignoring hearing loss, though, can have serious adverse side effects on a person’s general well-being beyond how well they hear.

Why do many people choose to simply live with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor concern that can be dealt with fairly easily, while greater than half of the respondents cited cost as a concern. But, those costs can go up astronomically when you take into account the serious adverse reactions and conditions that are triggered by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most prevalent negative consequences of neglecting hearing loss.

Fatigue

The majority of people won’t immediately put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will attribute fatigue to several different factors, such as slowing down because of aging or a side-effect of medication. But in reality, if you need to work extra hard to hear, it can deplete your physical resources. Recall how tired you were at times in your life when your brain had to be totally focused on a task for prolonged periods of time. You would most likely feel really drained after you’re finished. When you are struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent scenario: your brain is trying to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there is too much background noise, is even harder – and just trying to process information consumes precious energy. Looking after yourself requires energy which you won’t have with this kind of chronic fatigue. To adjust, you will skip life-essential activities such as working out or eating healthy.

Decline of Brain Function

A number of studies by Johns Hopkins University connected hearing loss to diminishe cognitive functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these links are correlations, instead of causations, it’s theorized by researchers that, again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes cognitive resources, the less you have to focus on other things including memorization and comprehension. And declining brain function, as we age 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 delay the process of mental decline. The fact that a link between cognitive function and hearing loss was found is promising for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can collaborate to narrow down the factors and develop treatments for these ailments.

Mental Health Problems

The National Council on the Aging carried out a study of 2,300 senior citizens who suffered some form of hearing loss and discovered that those who neglected their condition were more likely to also suffer from mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their emotional and social well-being. The connection between mental health issues and hearing loss makes sense since people with hearing loss frequently have a hard time communicating with others in social or family situations. Eventually, feelings of isolation could develop into depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can worsen to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you need to consult a mental health professional and you should also know 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 properly, it could have an affect on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the case with our hearts and ears. Case in point, hearing loss will happen when blood doesn’t easily flow from the heart to the inner ear. Diabetes, which is also connected to heart disease, can impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause messages sent to the brain from the ear to become scrambled. If heart disease is neglected severe or even potentially fatal repercussions can happen. So if you’ve detected some hearing loss and you have a history of heart disease or heart disease in your family you should consult both a cardiac and hearing specialist in order to determine if your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.

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

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