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Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

The regrettable truth is, as you get older, your hearing starts to go. Approximately 38 million people suffer from hearing loss in the U . S ., but many decide to dismiss it because they look at it as just a part of aging. Neglecting hearing loss, however, can have significant negative side effects on a person’s over-all well-being beyond how well they hear.

Why do many people choose to simply accept hearing loss? Based on an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor issue that can be dealt with easily enough, while greater than half of the respondents reported cost as a concern. But, those costs can rise astronomically when you factor in the significant side effects and ailments that are triggered by ignoring hearing loss. What are the most prevalent challenges of neglecting hearing loss?

Fatigue

Most people won’t instantly connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, rather, that they are slowing down due to the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. But actually, if you need to work extra hard to hear, it can drain your physical resources. Remember how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain had to be completely focused on a task for prolonged periods of time. Once you’re finished, you likely feel exhausted. When you are struggling to hear, it’s a similar scenario: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain needs to work extra hard to substitute the missing information – which, when there is enough background noise, is even harder – and simply attempting to process information consumes precious energy. Looking after yourself takes energy that you won’t have with this type of chronic exhaustion. To adjust, you will skip life-essential routines such as working out or eating healthy.

Decline of Brain Function

Hearing loss has been linked, by a number of Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe brain functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these links are correlations, not causations, researchers believe that, once again, the more mental resources that are spent trying to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you have to give attention to other things like memorization and comprehension. 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. Besides that, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be slowed and mental fitness can be maintained by a continued exchange of ideas, normally through conversation. Fortunately, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the known connection between mental decline and hearing loss to collaborate to undertake research and establish treatments that are promising in the near future.

Issues With Mental Health

The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 senior citizens who were dealing with some form of hearing loss and found that people who left their condition untreated were more likely to also be dealing with mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their emotional and social happiness. It makes sense that there’s a connection between hearing loss and mental health problems since people with hearing loss often have difficulty communicating with others in family or social situations. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can eventually result in 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 anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should talk to a mental health professional.

Heart Disease

Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one component stops working like it is supposed to, it might have a detrimental impact on another seemingly unrelated part. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will happen when blood doesn’t flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. Diabetes, which is also linked to heart disease, can affect the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause messages sent to the brain from the ear to get scrambled. If heart disease is disregarded serious or even potentially fatal consequences can happen. So if you’ve detected some hearing loss and have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should consult both a cardiac and hearing specialist in order to figure out whether your hearing loss is linked to a heart condition.

If you want to start living a healthier life, reach out to us so we can help you resolve any adverse effects of hearing loss that you might suffer.

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