Hearing Loss Affects More than Your Ears

Are you having trouble hearing everyday conversations? Does your family comment on how high the volume is on the television? Suffering from hearing loss, and not treating it properly is setting yourself up for a range of other serious health problems.

How Hearing Loss Affects Your Health

Results of a large, retrospective cohort study published in JAMA OtolaryngologyHead & Neck Surgery found that untreated hearing loss was associated with increased comorbidity across a broad spectrum of disorders.

Hearing loss affects more than 50% of Americans aged 60 years or older, so this is a serious concern.

Some health problems linked to hearing loss include depression, rapid cognitive decline, and dementia. Untreated hearing loss is also tied to increased instances of injuries such as bone fractures and sprains, caused by accidental falls, heart attacks and strokes. The longer people suffered from hearing loss, the higher the risk for these health problems.

Hearing Loss and Risk of Accident

Those who suffer from untreated hearing loss are more prone to accidents, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). According to Professor Neil Bhattacharya at Harvard Medical School this link is simple to understand. If you can’t hear well, you lose that crucial warning system that tells you a car or truck is driving up behind you while you’re biking, for example. “As a special sense, hearing has a tremendous protective role,” says Bhattacharya.

Heightened Anxiety

The ability to hear is an important factor related to your sense of safety. When you aren’t able to hear a phone, alarm, siren, cry for help or even someone approaching you, increased anxiety and subsequent stress can be the unfortunate results. Whether you’re alone or taking care of someone else, such a small child, fearing the worst and not being able to hear can cause a sense of uneasiness. When you feel relaxed and secure in your own home or surroundings, it is easier to have a calm and stress-free mind.

Social Isolation

Social isolation — especially as we age — increases the risk of numerous mental and physical health challenges, including depression, heart disease, abnormal immune systems, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Social isolation is also a growing epidemic, which, according to the former Surgeon General of the United States, is associated with a “reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

One big reason people become socially isolated is because of hearing loss. Often, as hearing becomes challenging, people avoid social situations where interaction is key, and instead choose to withdraw and isolate themselves. 

Depression

Untreated hearing loss can affect an individual’s daily life and lead to depression, a serious mental health issue affecting 15 million American adults. An article in Social Work Today explains some of the common negative emotions people with hearing loss say they experience including feelings of being “inadequate,” “stupid,” “awkward,” “embarrassed,” or “out of touch.” According to a study by the National Council on Aging, people 50 and older with untreated hearing loss were far more likely to report depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, emotional instability, and paranoia than those who sought hearing solutions.

Ways to Improve your Quality of Life When You Have Hearing Loss

Hearing loss doesn’t need to lead to other complications. There are some steps you can take to manage your hearing loss and maintain your quality of life.

  • Admit you have hearing loss, and see a specialist as soon as possible to establish your next steps.
  • Don’t think that wearing a hearing aid will label you as incapable or old.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. Find support groups for people who suffer from hearing loss.
  • Talk to family and friends about your hearing loss and tell them that you may have a harder time hearing conversations over the phone and in crowded areas. The more you disclose your situation, the more people will accommodate you, and you won’t need to feel embarrassed.
  • Don’t let go of your social circle or hobbies because of hearing loss.
  • Go for regular check-ups with your hearing specialist.
  • Take proper care of your hearing aid to ensure the best quality sound.

If you have hearing loss, don’t put off having your hearing tested. Contact us today at Gulf Gate Hearing Aid Center to book an appointment!