Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

The regrettable reality is, as you age, your hearing begins to go. Roughly 38 million individuals cope with hearing loss in the U . S ., but many people decide to disregard it because they look at it as just a part of getting older. Disregarding hearing loss, though, can have major negative side effects on a person’s over-all well-being beyond how well they hear.

Why do many people decide to simply deal with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens think of hearing loss as a minor problem that can be managed easily enough, while cost was a worry for more than half of people who took part in the study. But, those costs can rise incredibly when you factor in the serious adverse reactions and ailments that are triggered by ignoring hearing loss. Here are the most common negative consequences of neglecting 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 truth is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body struggles to compensate for it, leaving you feeling exhausted. Recall how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain had to be completely focused on a task for long periods of time. You would most likely feel really drained when you’re done. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s an equivalent scenario: your brain is working to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there is too much background noise, is even harder – and consumes precious energy just attempting to process the conversation. Looking after yourself takes energy which you won’t have with this type of chronic fatigue. To adapt, you will avoid life-essential routines such as working out or eating healthy.

Decline of Cognitive Function

Hearing loss has been connected, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe cognitive functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these connections are correlations, not causations, it’s believed by researchers that, once again, the more mental resources that are used attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you have to focus on other things like comprehension and memorization. And as people get older, the increased draw on cognitive resources can speed up the decline of other brain functions and worsen gray matter loss. On top of that, it’s believed that the process of cognitive decline can be slowed and mental wellness can be preserved by a continued exchange of ideas, usually through conversation. Luckily, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the recognized connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss to work together to carry out research and develop treatments that are encouraging in the near future.

Mental Health Issues

The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of over two thousand seniors, that mental health issues which have a negative emotional and social affect, are more common if there is also neglected hearing loss. The connection between mental health issues and hearing loss seems logical since, in social and family situations, individuals who cope with hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others. This can result in feelings of separation, which can eventually lead to depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can worsen to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. Hearing aids have been shown to aid in the recovery from depression, though anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should consult with a mental health professional.

Cardiovascular Disease

If one part of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops working properly, it could have an impact on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the way it is 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 be the result. Another condition linked to heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and can cause the brain to receive scrambled information. Individuals who have detected some degree 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 indeed caused by a heart condition, since overlooking the symptoms could lead to severe, possibly fatal consequences.

If you deal with hearing loss or are going through any of the adverse effects listed above, please reach out to us so we can help you live a healthier life.

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