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Center For Better Hearing - Glens Falls, NY

Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

Loss of hearing is a normal part of the aging process, unfortunately. Roughly 38 million people suffer from some kind of hearing loss in the United States, but a lot of people decide to simply ignore it because it’s a normal part of aging. However, beyond a person’s ability to hear, their overall health can be negatively affected if they neglect their hearing loss.

Why do many people choose to just live with hearing loss? According to an AARP study, More than half of senior citizens cited costs as the major concern while one third consider hearing loss as a small problem that can be easily handled. However, those costs can increase astronomically when you factor in the serious side effects and conditions that are caused by ignoring hearing loss. Neglecting hearing loss has the following negative side effects.

Tiredness

Most people will not immediately connect the dots from fatigue to hearing loss. Alternatively, they will connect tiredness to a number of other factors, such as slowing down based on getting older or a side-effect of medication. The reality is that the less you are able to hear, the more your body works to make up for it, leaving you feeling drained. Imagine you are taking an exam such as the SAT where your brain is completely concentrated on processing the task at hand. Once you’re done, you likely feel depleted. When you struggle to hear, the same thing occurs: your brain is working to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – and if there is a lot of background noise this is even more difficult – and burns valuable energy just trying to process the discussion. Your health can be affected by this type of chronic exhaustion and you can be left so run down you can’t take good care of yourself, skipping out on things like cooking healthy meals or going to the gym.

Mental Decline

Several studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to , accelerated brain tissue loss, and dementia. Although 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 you’ll have to dedicate to other things such as comprehension and memorization. The decrease of brain function is sped up and there is a loss of grey matter with the additional draw on cognitive capacity that comes with getting older. The process of cognitive decline can be slowed down and senior citizens can stay mentally tuned by the regular exchange of ideas through conversation. The future for researchers is encouraging due to the discovery of a connection between the decrease in cognitive function and hearing loss, since cognitive and hearing specialists can work together to pinpoint the causes and formulate treatment options for these ailments.

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 paranoia, anxiety, and depression negatively affected the emotional health more often than those who don’t have hearing loss. The link between hearing loss and mental health problems makes sense since those with hearing loss often have difficulty communicating with others in family or social situations. This can lead to feelings of seclusion, which can eventually lead to depression. If neglected, anxiety and even paranoia can surface due to these feelings of isolation and exclusion. Hearing aids have been proven to assist in the recovery from depression, however, anyone who has depression, anxiety, or paranoia should consult with a mental health professional.

Heart Disease

Our bodies are one interconnected machine – if one part stops working as it should, it might have a negative effect on another seemingly unrelated part. This is the case with our hearts and ears. Case in point, 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 impact the inner ear’s nerve endings and cause messages sent from the ear to the brain to become scrambled. Those who have detected some degree of hearing loss and who have a history of heart disease or diabetes in their families should contact both a cardiac and hearing specialist to determine whether the hearing loss is indeed caused by a heart condition, since ignoring the symptoms could lead to severe, potentially fatal consequences.

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

Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call Us Today