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Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

The regrettable truth is, as you get older, your hearing begins to fail. Approximately 38 million individuals in the United States deal with some form of hearing loss, though since hearing loss is anticipated as we age, many people decide to just deal with it. But beyond how well you hear, disregarding hearing loss can have serious adverse side effects.

Why is the choice to simply live with hearing loss one that lots of people choose? Based on an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens consider hearing loss to be a minor issue that can be managed easily enough, while price was a worry for more than half of those who took part in the study. However, those costs can go up astronomically when you take into account the serious adverse reactions and ailments that are brought on by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most likely negative effects of ignoring hearing loss.

Fatigue

Most people will not immediately 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 have to work extra hard to hear, it can deplete your physical resources. Recall how fatigued you were at times in your life when your brain needed to be totally focused on a task for long periods of time. Once you’re done, you probably feel drained. The same situation happens when you struggle to hear: your brain is working to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there is enough background noise, is even more difficult – and uses up precious energy just attempting to process the conversation. Looking after yourself requires energy that you won’t have with this kind of chronic exhaustion. To adapt, you will avoid life-essential activities like working out or eating healthy.

Cognitive Decline

Hearing loss has been connected, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe brain functions , accelerated loss of brain tissue, and dementia. Although these links are not causation, they’re correlations, scientists believe that, once again, the more frequently you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which consumes mental resources, the less there are to give attention to other things including comprehension and memorization. And as people get older, the additional draw on cognitive resources can speed up the decline of other brain functions and worsen loss of gray matter. In addition, engaging in a regular exchange of ideas and information, usually through conversation, is thought to help seniors stay mentally fit and can help slow the process of cognitive decline. The fact that a link was discovered between hearing loss and a decline in cognitive functions is encouraging for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can collaborate to narrow down the factors and develop treatment options for these ailments.

Problems With Mental Health

The National Council on the Aging performed a study of 2,300 seniors who were dealing with some form of hearing loss and found that people who neglected their condition were more likely to also suffer from mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively impacted their emotional and social happiness. It makes sense that there’s a link between mental health and hearing loss issues since, in social and family situations, people who suffer from hearing loss have a hard time interacting with others. Eventually, feelings of separation could develop into depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can worsen to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. Hearing aids have been shown to help in the recovery from depression, although anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should contact a mental health professional.

Heart Disease

If one portion of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops functioning correctly, it could have an impact on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. Case in point, hearing loss will occur when blood does not flow easily from the heart to the inner ear. Another affliction associated with heart disease is diabetes which also impacts the nerve endings of the inner ear and sometimes causes the brain to receive scrambled signals. If heart disease is neglected severe or even potentially fatal repercussions can occur. So if you’ve detected some hearing loss and you have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should consult both a hearing and a cardiac specialist in order to figure out whether your hearing loss is linked to a heart condition.

If you want to begin living a healthier life, reach out to us so we can help you address any negative effects of hearing loss that you may suffer.

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