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Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

The unfortunate truth is, as you age, your hearing starts to fail. Approximately 38 million individuals in the U.S. suffer from some kind of hearing loss, though because hearing loss is anticipated as we get older, many choose to leave it unchecked. Ignoring hearing loss, however, can have major negative side effects on a person’s over-all well-being beyond how well they hear.

Why is the decision to just cope with hearing loss one that lots of people choose? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, thought to be by a third of senior citizens, an issue that is minimal and can be dealt with easily, while cost was a concern for more than half of those who participated in the study. But, those costs can increase astronomically when you take into account the significant side effects and ailments that are brought about by ignoring hearing loss. What are the most common challenges of neglecting hearing loss?

Fatigue

The majority of people won’t immediately connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will blame their fatigue on several different factors, such as slowing down because of aging or a side-effect of medication. But actually, if you have to work harder to hear, it can deplete your physical resources. Imagine you are taking a test like the SAT where your brain is entirely concentrated on processing the task in front of you. You would most likely feel really drained when you’re done. When you’re struggling to hear, it’s a similar situation: when there are missing spots in conversation, your brain needs to work hard to substitute the missing information – which is often made even more difficult when there’s lots of background noise – and just attempting to process information uses precious energy. This kind of chronic fatigue can affect your health by leaving you too tired to care for yourself, skipping out on things like going to the gym or cooking healthy meals.

Decline of Brain Function

Numerous studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to decreased cognitive functions , increased brain tissue loss, and dementia. Even though these links are not causation, they’re correlations, it’s theorized by researchers that, again, the more mental resources that are spent attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to give attention to other things including memorization and comprehension. And as people get older, the additional draw on cognitive resources can accelerate the decline of other brain functions and can lead to loss of gray matter. Besides that, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be slowed and mental fitness can be preserved by sustained exchange of ideas, normally 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 narrow down the factors and create treatment options for these conditions.

Problems With Mental Health

The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of over two thousand senior citizens, that mental health problems that have a negative social and emotional impact, are more prevalent if there is also untreated hearing loss. The link between hearing loss and mental health issues adds up since people who suffer from hearing loss frequently have difficulty communicating with others in social or family situations. This can lead to feelings of separation, which can eventually result in depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can worsen to anxiety and even paranoia if neglected. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you should talk to a mental health professional and you should also know that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some kinds of depression.

Cardiovascular Disease

If one portion of your body, which is a coordinated machine, stops working properly, it could have an impact on seemingly unrelated bodily functions. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. As a case in point, if blood flow from the heart to the inner ear is restricted, hearing loss could occur. Another affliction linked to heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and can cause the brain to receive scrambled signals. If heart disease is ignored serious or even possibly fatal consequences can happen. So if you’ve detected some hearing loss and have a history of heart disease or heart disease in your family you should consult both a cardiac and hearing specialist in order to determine if your hearing loss is connected to a heart condition.

If you have hearing loss or are going through any of the adverse repercussions listed above, please contact us for a consultation so we can help you have a healthier life.

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