Center For Better Hearing - Glens Falls, NY

Hearing loss depicted as a problem that compounds by showing several cutout men toppled over on one man.

Are you surprised to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the tools of hearing, so the damage done to them because of aging, trauma or disease is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there’s more to it than that The loss of a person’s hearing bleeds into a number of other facets of their life. It’s a dramatic change for somebody who has always had the ability to hear. Take some ways that hearing loss has a extensive impact on more than just the ears.

Earning Capability

A 2006 report released by the Australian firm Access Economics states there’s a link between earning potential and hearing. They discovered that an individual with hearing loss could possibly make about 25 percent less than those that do hear, but why?

There are many things that could affect earnings. Someone who works with no hearing assistance device like a hearing aid may miss out on weighty information. They might show up for a business meeting at 4 if it was actually at 2 pm, for instance. Managers tend to value those with shrewd attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can not hear the specifics.

Work environments can be loud and chaotic, too. A person with hearing loss can become confused with all that noise around them. They’ll struggle to speak on the phone, to listen to customers and to understand what coworkers are saying because in a loud environment the desktop sounds like clicking keyboards or an air conditioner motor become conspicuous.

Relationships

Some of the very same problems at work become an issue at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, particularly when the person with the problem continues to deny it. Little things such as saying “what” a lot during conversations and turning the TV up too loud irritate friends, relatives, and spouses.

They may attempt to intervene and encourage this individual to recognize their hearing loss, and that leads to friction, also. It’s very common for someone with hearing loss to isolate themselves and refuse to go out and spend some time with others. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so that they so what the can to prevent them.

Mental Health Concerns

The issues at work and house take a toll on mental health over time. A 2014 study conducted by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders found a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and depression. Their research suggests an increased risk of depression, especially among girls and people under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to approximately 11 percent with hearing loss.

A second study by the Senior Research Group suggests that the chance of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a individual with hearing loss doesn’t use hearing aids. The study participants who did not wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of despair to sudden fits of anger more often than those who did wear them.

Safety Issues

Safety is always a concern for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, whether it is a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alert, work based on sound. They emit a high-frequency noise when there is a danger. Even people with minor hearing loss can have difficulty hearing high pitched tones.

Personal safety becomes a problem when a person with hearing loss crosses the street or drives a car, too. Sound serves to signal problems like a car coming down the street or a horn honking.

Cognitive Functioning

Medical science has made a connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss. It isn’t clear why people with hearing loss have a higher risk of dementia. The current theory is that the brain struggles to hear and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like memory.

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that even someone with minor hearing loss is twice as likely to develop dementia. Moderate hearing loss increases the risk by three times and a person with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Hearing health is just one factor in memory loss conditions, but it is an important one.

When someone has hearing loss, it is true there’s probably something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it begins. The good news is that getting help in the kind of hearing aids and other treatment choices reduces the risk of mental health issues, dementia and the various issues related to hearing decline.

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