HEARING TIPS

Hearing Loss Alters More Than Just Your Ears

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

Are you taken aback to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the mechanisms 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’s a dramatic change for someone who has always had the ability to hear. Take some ways that hearing loss has a significant effect on more than just the ears.

Earning Potential

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

There are a lot of things that could affect earnings. Someone who works with no hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid might miss out on crucial information. They may show up for a business meeting at 4 when it was actually at 2 pm, for instance. Managers tend to value those with astute attention to detail, which is a challenge when you can’t hear the specifics.

Working environments can be noisy and chaotic, too. A individual with hearing loss can quickly become confused with that sound around them. They will struggle to talk on the telephone, to listen to clients and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a noisy environment the desktop sounds like clicking keyboards or an air conditioner engine become conspicuous.

Relationships

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

They may try to intervene and encourage this person to recognize their hearing loss, which leads to friction, as well. It is extremely common for someone with hearing loss to detach themselves and refuse to go out and spend time with others. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so that 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 discovered a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and melancholy. Their study indicates an increased risk of depression, particularly 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 from 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 does not 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

Safety is always a concern for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, while it’s a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alert, work based on noise. They exude a high-frequency noise if there is a danger. Even people with slight hearing loss can have difficulty hearing high pitched tones.

Personal safety becomes a problem when a individual 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 greater risk of dementia. The current theory is that the mind struggles to hear and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like memory.

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that a person with minor hearing loss is twice as likely to develop dementia. Moderate hearing loss increases the risk by three times and an individual with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease and other forms 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 likely something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it starts. The good news is that getting help in the kind of hearing aids and other treatment choices reduces the chance of mental health issues, dementia and the various issues associated with hearing decline.

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