Are you amazed to learn that hearing loss is more than just your ears? Ears are the method of hearing, so the harm done to them because of aging, trauma or illness is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there is more to it than the loss of one’s hearing bleeds into many other facets of their life. It is a dramatic change for someone who has always had the ability to hear. Consider some ways that hearing loss has a profound impact on more than just the ears.
A 2006 report published by the Australian firm Access Economics states there is a connection between earning potential and hearing. They found that an individual with hearing loss will potentially make about 25 percent less than the ones that do hear, but why?
There are many things that could impact earnings. Someone who works without any hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid might miss out on weighty information. They might show up for a business meeting at 4 when it was actually at 2 pm, for example. Managers tend to value those with shrewd attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can not hear the details.
Work environments can be noisy and crazy, too. A individual with hearing loss can quickly become confused with all that noise around them. They’ll struggle to speak on the telephone, to listen to clients and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a loud environment the background sounds like clacking keyboards or an air conditioner motor become pronounced.
Some of the same problems at work become an issue at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, particularly when the individual with the problem continues to deny it. Little things like saying “what” a lot during discussions and turning the TV up too loud irritate friends, family members, and spouses.
They may try to intervene and encourage this person to recognize their hearing loss, and that leads to friction, as well. It is very common for people with hearing loss to sequester themselves and refuse to go out and spend some time with other people. 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 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, especially among girls and individuals 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 indicates that the risk of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a person with hearing loss does not 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 that did wear them.
Safety is always a concern for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, whether it’s a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alarm, work based on noise. They exude a high-frequency noise when there’s a danger. Even people with slight hearing loss can have trouble hearing high pitched tones.
Personal security becomes an issue 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.
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 mind struggles to hear and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like short-term 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 an individual with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Hearing health is just one factor in memory loss conditions, but it’s an important one.
When someone has hearing loss, it’s true there is likely something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it starts. The fantastic news is that getting help in the form of hearing aids and other treatment choices lowers the risk of mental health problems, dementia and the different issues related to hearing decline.