Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hearing Loss Effects

Hearing loss effects every day activities like walking along this beautiful trail.

There are a lot of reasons that people with hearing loss refuse to seek treatment. Sometimes it's a misconception about stigma of wearing hearing aids, sometimes it's financial, but often people are simply unaware of the serious effects of hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Effects

Recent studies have found a shocking connection between hearing loss and serious health conditions like depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. It is thought that the strain of having to decode words over the years, the lack of stimulation delivered through the ears to the brain, or the social isolation that often occurs with hearing loss may be responsible. People with untreated hearing loss have been shown to be less healthy than those that seek treatment. Below is a list of a few of the serious risks of untreated hearing loss:

  • Increased Irritability, Isolation, and Exhaustion- Stress and tension of trying to understand what is being said often causes people with untreated hearing loss to become exhausted and slowly to withdrawal from the rest of the world. The slow decline in their mood happens with isolation and when they fail to recognize that many of the mistakes and concentration issues that they are having result from undetected hearing loss.
  • Depression- According to Dr. Claudia Dewane in her article Hearing Loss in Older Adults--Its Effect on Mental Health, "Hearing loss can create a psychological solitary confinement." This confinement can lead to feelings of depression that are quite often misconstrued, so that the cause--hearing loss, is not even recognized.
  • Social Anxiety- Difficulty hearing in crowds or an inability to decipher what is being said are two reasons that people suffering from hearing loss tend to isolate themselves. They are anxious about responding inappropriately or looking "out of touch." Often people don’t pursue these feelings, assuming they are emotional, but in fact they can be symptoms of discomfort in communicating with others due to hearing loss. Hearing loss is also more pronounced in social situations where there is an increase in background noise.
  • Dementia and Alzheimer's- Alzheimer's and Dementia may indicate that there is hearing loss. That's because sensory input form your ears, helps to keep your brain functioning better. A study conducted by Dr. Jonathan Peelle and funded by the National Institute on Hearing, showed that hearing loss and the resulting lack of stimulation tended to cause reduction in gray matter. This startling report indicates preserving hearing may be as important as correcting hearing loss in keeping the brain healthy.
  • Unexpected Falls- A decreased ability to focus and pay attention may be responsible for an increase in unexpected falls among people with hearing loss. 2,017 people age 40 to 69 participated in the study conducted by Johns Hopkins and Funded by the National Institute of Health that showed the relationship between hearing loss and falling. The study results confirmed that even people with mild hearing loss were three times more likely to report a history of falling down.
  • There is a myth around untreated hearing loss that suggests correcting hearing loss is not necessary to live a fully engaged life. This isn’t true. People who improve their hearing with hearing aids more often reported better relationships with their families, better feelings about themselves, improved mental health, and greater independence and security. If you or a loved one has untreated hearing loss make an appointment to visit your hearing health provider as soon as possible. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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