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Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

It’s a regrettable truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Approximately 38 million people in the United States deal with some form of hearing loss, though because hearing loss is anticipated as we age, many decide to ignore it. But beyond the ability to hear, ignoring hearing loss can have severe negative side effects.

Why is the decision to simply ignore hearing loss one that lots of people consider? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of seniors, an issue that’s minimal and can be handled easily, while price was a concern for more than half of people who participated in the study. But, those costs can increase incredibly when you factor in the significant side effects and conditions that are brought about by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most common negative effects 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 due to the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. The fact is that the less you can hear, the more your body struggles to compensate for it, leaving you feeling drained. Imagine you are taking a test such as the SAT where your brain is totally focused on processing the task at hand. Once you’re done, you probably feel drained. When you are struggling to hear, it’s a similar scenario: when there are blanks spots in conversation, your brain needs to work hard to substitute the missing information – which, when there is too much background noise, is even more difficult – and uses up valuable energy just attempting to process the conversation. Looking after yourself takes energy that you won’t have with this kind of chronic exhaustion. To adapt, you will skip life-essential activities like working out or eating healthy.

Decline of Cognitive Function

Several studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to reduced brain functions , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these connections are correlations, not causations, it’s believed by researchers that, once 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 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. Besides 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. The fact that a connection was discovered between hearing loss and a decline in cognitive functions is encouraging for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to pinpoint the causes and create treatment options for these ailments.

Mental Health Problems

The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of more than two thousand seniors, that mental health issues that have a negative emotional and social impact, are more common if there is also untreated hearing loss. It makes sense that there is a link between mental health and hearing loss problems since, in family and social situations, people who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time interacting with others. Ultimately, feelings of isolation could develop into depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can appear due to these feelings of isolation and exclusion. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you need to talk to a mental health professional and you should also know that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some forms of depression.

Heart Disease

If one portion of your body, which is an interconnected machine, stops working correctly, it might have an affect on seemingly unrelated bodily functions. This is the situation with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will happen when blood does not 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 become scrambled. If heart disease is ignored serious or even possibly fatal consequences can occur. So if you have noticed some hearing loss and you have a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family you should contact both a hearing and a cardiac specialist so that you can figure out if your hearing loss is connected 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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