Tinnitus and Hearing Health Calgary, Calgary AL

Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

Loss of hearing is a normal part of getting older, unfortunately. Roughly 38 million people in the United States suffer from some form of hearing loss, but many people decide to simply ignore it because it’s a normal part of aging. However, beyond a person’s ability to hear, their whole health can be negatively impacted if they ignore their hearing loss.

Why do so many people refuse to get help for their hearing loss? According to an AARP study, More than half of senior citizens cited costs as the major worry while one third regard hearing loss as a minor issue that can be easily treated. However, those costs can rise astronomically when you take into account the significant side effects and conditions that are brought on by ignoring hearing loss. Here are the most common negative effects of ignoring hearing loss.

Fatigue

Most people will not immediately connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. They are often in denial and will attribute their fatigue on things like getting older or a side-effect of medication. The truth is that the less you can hear, the more your body works to make up for it, leaving you feeling tired. Imagine you are taking a test such as the SAT where your brain is totally focused on processing the task at hand. When you’re done, you likely feel drained. When you struggle to hear, the same thing occurs: when having conversations, your brain is working to fill in the blanks – and if there is a lot of background noise this is even more overwhelming – and uses up valuable energy just attempting to process the discussion. This type of chronic fatigue can impact your health by leaving you too run down to take care of yourself, passing up on things like cooking healthy meals or going to the gym.

Cognitive Decline

Several studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. While these connections are not direct causations, they are correlations, researchers believe the more the blanks need to be filled in by the brain, the more the cognitive resources needed and the less the resources available for other things like comprehension and memory. The decline of brain function is accelerated and there is a loss of grey matter with the additional draw on cognitive capacity that comes with aging. The process of cognitive decline can be reduced and seniors can stay mentally tuned by the regular exchange of ideas through conversation. The discovery of a link between hearing loss and a loss of cognitive functions is promising for future research since hearing and cognitive experts can work together to pinpoint the causes and develop treatments for these conditions.

Mental Health Issues

The National Council on the Aging conducted a study of 2,300 seniors who suffered some form of hearing loss and discovered that those who neglected their hearing problem had mental health troubles such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia, which negatively affected their social and emotional well-being. Since trouble communicating with others in social and family situations is typical for those with hearing loss, the link between mental health problems and hearing loss makes sense. This can cause feelings of seclusion, which can eventually result in depression. Due to these feelings of exclusion and solitude, anxiety and even paranoia can be the consequence, specifically if left untreated. Hearing aids have been proven to help in the recovery from depression, however, anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or paranoia should seek advice from with a mental health professional.

Heart Disease

Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one part stops working the way it’s supposed to, it might have a negative effect on another apparently unrelated part. This is the case with our hearts and ears. As an example, when blood doesn’t flow easily from the heart to the inner ear, hearing loss will happen. Another disease that can affect the inner ear’s nerve ending, and is also connected to heart disease is diabetes which causes messages from the ear to the brain to get mixed up. In order to determine whether hearing loss is caused by heart disease or diabetes, if you have a family history of those illnesses consult both a hearing expert and a cardiac specialist because ignoring the symptoms can result in serious or possibly even fatal consequences.

Please contact us if you are having any of the negative effects detailed above or if you have hearing loss so we can help you live a healthier life. Schedule your appointment now.

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