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Hearing Aids by Tricia Leagjeld - Redmond, OR

Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

It’s an unfortunate truth that hearing loss is part of the aging process. Roughly 38 million people cope with hearing loss in the United States, but many choose to dismiss it because they consider it as just a part of aging. But beyond how well you hear, ignoring hearing loss will have severe adverse side effects.

Why is the decision to just ignore hearing loss one that lots of people consider? According to an AARP study, hearing loss is, according to a third of senior citizens, a concern that is minor and can be managed easily, while greater than half of the respondents reported cost as a problem. But, those costs can increase astronomically when you factor in the significant side effects and ailments that are brought on by neglecting hearing loss. Here are the most likely adverse effects of ignoring hearing loss.

Fatigue

The majority of people won’t immediately put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. They will say, instead, that they are slowing down because of the side-effects of a medication or because they’re getting older. The fact is that the less you’re able to hear, the more your body struggles to compensate for it, leaving you feeling drained. Remember how tired you were at times in your life when your brain had to be completely concentrated on a task for extended periods of time. You would most likely feel quite drained after you’re finished. The same situation occurs when you struggle to hear: your brain is trying to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there is enough background noise, is even more difficult – and uses up valuable energy just trying to manage the conversation. Looking after yourself takes energy which you won’t have with this type of chronic exhaustion. To adapt, you will avoid life-essential routines such as working out or eating healthy.

Decline of Brain Function

Hearing loss has been connected, by a number of Johns Hopkins University studies, to decreased brain functions , accelerated loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these links are correlations, not causations, it’s believed by researchers that, once again, the more cognitive resources that are used attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less you have to focus on other things including memorization and comprehension. And declining brain function, as we get older is, directly linked to an increased draw on our mental resources. Additionally, engaging in a regular exchange of information and ideas, often through conversation, is thought to help seniors remain 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 promising for future research since hearing and cognitive specialists can work together to narrow down the causes and develop treatments for these ailments.

Mental Health Issues

The National Council on the Aging discovered, from a study of more than two thousand seniors, that mental health issues which have a negative social and emotional impact, are more common if there is also untreated hearing loss. It is obvious that there is a link between mental health and hearing loss issues since, in social and family situations, individuals who cope with hearing loss have a difficult time interacting with others. Ultimately, feelings of separation could become depression. Feelings of exclusion and separation can escalate 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 be aware that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some types of depression.

Cardiovascular Disease

If one portion of your body, which is an interconnected machine, stops working properly, it could have an impact on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will happen when blood doesn’t easily flow 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 can cause the brain to receive scrambled signals. If heart disease is ignored serious or even possibly fatal consequences can occur. So if you have noticed some hearing loss and 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 deal with hearing loss or are going through any of the adverse effects listed above, please contact us for a consultation so we can help you have a healthier life.

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