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Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

It’s a regrettable fact of life that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Roughly 38 million people suffer from hearing loss in the U . S ., but many people decide to disregard it because they think about it as just a part of getting older. Neglecting hearing loss, though, can have significant adverse side effects on a person’s over-all well-being beyond how well they hear.

Why is the decision to simply ignore hearing loss one that lots of people choose? Based on an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of seniors, a problem that is minor and can be handled easily, while more than half of the respondents cited cost as a concern. The costs of ignoring hearing loss, however, can be a lot higher because of conditions and adverse reactions that come with leaving it untreated. What are the most prevalent complications of ignoring hearing loss?

Fatigue

Most people won’t immediately put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will attribute fatigue to countless different factors, such as slowing down due to aging or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you can hear, the more your body works to make up for it, leaving you feeling drained. Think about taking an exam such as the SAT where your brain is totally concentrated on processing the task in front of you. You would most likely feel really drained when you’re done. The same situation takes place when you struggle to hear: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain has to work hard to fill in the missing information – which, when there is too much background noise, is even harder – and consumes valuable energy just trying to process the conversation. Looking after yourself requires energy that you won’t have with this type of chronic exhaustion. To adjust, you will avoid life-essential activities such as working out or eating healthy.

Mental Decline

Hearing loss has been connected, by several Johns Hopkins University studies, to diminishe brain functions , accelerated loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these links are correlations, not causations, scientists think that, again, the more often you need to fill in the conversational blanks, which uses up cognitive resources, the less there are to focus on other things like comprehension and memorization. And as people get older, the additional draw on mental resources can speed up the decline of other brain functions and contribute to loss of gray matter. Additionally, engaging in a routine exchange of ideas and information, usually through conversation, is believed to help seniors remain mentally fit and can help slow the process of cognitive decline. Fortunately, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the known link between mental decline and hearing loss to work together to carry out research and develop treatments that are encouraging in the near future.

Problems With Mental Health

The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of over two thousand seniors, that mental health problems that have a negative emotional and social affect, are more common if there is also neglected hearing loss. It makes sense that there is a link between hearing loss and mental health problems since people with hearing loss often have a hard time communicating with other people in family or social situations. This can result in feelings of separation, which can ultimately result in depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can escalate to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. Hearing aids have been proven to help in the recovery from depression, although anybody suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should talk to a mental health professional.

Heart Disease

If one part of your body, which is an interconnected machine, stops working correctly, it might have an impact 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. 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 receive scrambled signals. If heart disease is disregarded serious or even potentially fatal consequences can happen. 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 cardiac and hearing 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 solve any adverse effects of hearing loss that you might suffer.

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