Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

It’s an unfortunate truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Approximately 38 million people cope with hearing loss in the United States, but many decide to ignore it because they look at it as just a part of aging. But beyond the ability to hear, ignoring hearing loss can have serious adverse side effects.

Why do so many people decide to simply accept hearing loss? Based on an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor concern that can be managed fairly easily, while price was a worry for more than half of individuals who participated in the study. However, those costs can rise incredibly when you factor in the significant adverse reactions and ailments that are brought about by ignoring hearing loss. Here are the most likely adverse consequences of neglecting hearing loss.

Fatigue

The dots will not be connected by most people 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 works to make up for it, leaving you feeling exhausted. Recall how tired you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be completely concentrated 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: your brain is trying to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there’s too much background noise, is even harder – and just trying to process information consumes valuable energy. Taking care of yourself requires energy which you won’t have with this kind of chronic fatigue. To adjust, you will skip life-essential routines like working out or eating healthy.

Decline of Brain Function

Hearing loss has been connected, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe cognitive functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. Even though these associations are not causation, they’re correlations, researchers believe that, once again, the more often you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which uses up 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 linked to an additional draw on our mental resources. Besides that, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be slowed and mental wellness 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 work together to undertake research and establish treatments that are promising in the near future.

Mental Health Problems

The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 seniors who suffered some form of hearing loss and found that people who left their condition untreated were more likely to also suffer from mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their emotional and social happiness. The link between mental health issues and hearing loss adds up since people who suffer from hearing loss often have difficulty communicating with others in family or social situations. Ultimately, feelings of separation could develop into depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can appear as a result of these feelings of isolation and exclusion. Hearing aids have been proven to help in the recovery from depression, although anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should contact a mental health professional.

Cardiovascular Disease

Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one part stops working like it should, it might have a negative impact on another seemingly unrelated part. 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 restricted, hearing loss may be the result. Another condition associated with heart disease is diabetes which also impacts the nerve endings of the inner ear and can cause the brain to receive scrambled signals. If heart disease is disregarded severe or even potentially fatal consequences can occur. So if you’ve noticed 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 so that you can determine if your hearing loss is linked to a heart condition.

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

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