Hearing Loss Restricts More Than Just Your Hearing

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 illness is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there’s more to it than the loss of one’s hearing bleeds into a number of other aspects of their life. It is a dramatic change for somebody who has always been able to hear. Take some ways that hearing loss has a extensive impact on more than just the ears.

Earning Ability

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

There are many things that could impact earnings. Someone who works with no hearing assistance device like a hearing aid may miss out on weighty information. They may appear for a company meeting at 4 when it was really at 2 pm, for instance. Employers tend to value those with keen attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can’t hear the details.

Working environments can be noisy and chaotic, too. A person with hearing loss can quickly become confused with that noise around them. They will struggle to speak on the phone, to listen to clients and to understand what coworkers are saying because in a noisy environment the background sounds like clicking keyboards or an air conditioner engine become pronounced.

Relationships

Some of the same problems at work become an issue at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, especially when the person with the problem continues to deny it. Little things such as saying “what” a lot during discussions 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, which leads to friction, as well. It’s very common for people with hearing loss to detach themselves and refuse to go out and spend time with others. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so they so what the can to avoid them.

Mental Health Concerns

The issues at work and house take a toll on mental health over time. A 2014 study performed by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders found a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and depression. Their study suggests an increased risk of depression, especially among women 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 person with hearing loss doesn’t use hearing aids. The study participants who didn’t wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of despair to sudden fits of anger more often than those that did wear them.

Safety Issues

Security is always an issue for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, whether it is a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alarm, work based on sound. They emit a high-frequency noise if there’s a danger. Even people with minor hearing loss can have trouble hearing high pitched tones.

Personal security becomes a problem when a individual with hearing loss spans the street or drives a car, too. Sound serves to signal problems like a car coming down the road or a horn honking.

Cognitive Functioning

Medical science has made a connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss. It’s not clear why people with hearing loss have a greater 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 a person 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 get Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Hearing health is just 1 factor in memory loss conditions, but it’s an important one.

When someone has hearing loss, it’s 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 lowers the chance of mental health issues, dementia and the different issues related to hearing decline.

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