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 suffer from hearing loss in the U . S ., but many decide to dismiss it because they think about it as just a part of getting older. But beyond the ability to hear, ignoring hearing loss can have severe adverse side effects.

Why is the decision to just live with hearing loss one that many people choose? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of seniors, an issue that’s minimal and can be dealt with easily, while more than half of the respondents reported cost as a concern. The costs of ignoring hearing loss, though, can be a lot higher due to conditions and side effects that come with ignoring it. What are the most prevalent challenges of ignoring hearing loss?

Fatigue

The majority of people won’t immediately put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, instead, that they are slowing down because of the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. The truth is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body struggles to make up for it, leaving you feeling exhausted. Think about taking an exam like the SAT where your brain is totally concentrated on processing the task at hand. 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 has to work hard to substitute the missing information – which is often made even more difficult when there is a lot of background noise – and simply trying to process information uses valuable energy. Taking care of yourself takes energy which you won’t have with this kind of chronic exhaustion. To adjust, you will skip life-essential activities such as working out or eating healthy.

Decline of Brain Function

Hearing loss has been connected, by a number of Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe brain functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. Although these links are not causation, they’re correlations, it’s believed by researchers that, again, the more cognitive resources that are spent trying to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to give attention to other things like memorization and comprehension. And decreasing brain function, as we get older is, directly connected to an increased draw on our cognitive resources. What’s more, engaging in a regular exchange of ideas and information, usually through conversation, is thought to help seniors remain mentally fit and can help decrease the process of cognitive decline. The fact that a connection 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 develop treatment options for these conditions.

Mental Health Issues

The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of over two thousand seniors, that mental health problems which have a negative social and emotional affect, are more common if there is also neglected hearing loss. The link between hearing loss and mental health issues seems logical since people who suffer from hearing loss frequently have a hard time communicating with other people in social or family situations. This can result in feelings of isolation, which can ultimately result in depression. If left untreated, anxiety and even paranoia can appear as a result of these feelings of solitude and exclusion. Hearing aids have been proven to help in the recovery from depression, though anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should talk to a mental health professional.

Heart Disease

If one portion of your body, which is an interconnected machine, stops working correctly, it could have an affect on seemingly unrelated bodily functions. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. As a case in point, if blood flow from the heart to the inner ear is restricted, hearing loss may 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 neglected serious or even potentially fatal repercussions can occur. So if you’ve detected some hearing loss and you have a history of heart disease or heart disease in your family you should seek advice from both a cardiac and hearing specialist so that you can figure out if your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.

If you suffer from 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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