Are you taken aback to learn that hearing loss is more than just your ears? Ears are the tools of hearing, so the harm done to them due to aging, injury or illness is why someone can not 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’s a dramatic change for someone who has always been able 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 company Access Economics states there is a connection between salary potential and hearing. They found that an individual with hearing loss will potentially make about 25 percent less than those that do hear, but why?
There are a lot of things that could affect earnings. Someone who works with no hearing assistance device like a hearing aid might miss out on crucial information. They may show up for a company meeting at 4 if it was really at 2 pm, for instance. Employers tend to value those with shrewd attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can not hear the specifics.
Work environments can be noisy and chaotic, too. A individual with hearing loss can become confused with all that sound around them. They’ll struggle to talk on the phone, to listen to clients and to understand what coworkers are saying because in a noisy environment the background sounds like clacking keyboards or an air conditioner vent become conspicuous.
Some of the very 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 conversations and turning the TV up too loud irritate friends, relatives, and spouses.
They may attempt to intervene and encourage this person to recognize their hearing loss, and that leads to friction, also. It is extremely common for people with hearing loss to detach themselves and refuse to go out and spend time with other people. 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 conducted by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders found a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and melancholy. Their study suggests an increased risk of depression, particularly among women and individuals under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to about 11 percent with hearing loss.
A second study from the Senior Research Group suggests that the risk of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a individual with hearing loss does not use hearing aids. The study participants who didn’t wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of sadness to sudden fits of anger more frequently than those that did wear them.
Security is always an issue for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, while it’s a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alert, work based on sound. They exude a high-frequency noise when there’s a danger. Even people with minor hearing loss can have difficulty hearing high pitched tones.
Personal safety becomes an issue when a person 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.
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 brain 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 someone 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 have Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Hearing health is just one factor in memory loss conditions, but it is an important one.
When a person has hearing loss, it’s true there is likely something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it starts. The good news is that getting help in the form of hearing aids and other treatment options lowers the risk of mental health issues, dementia and the various issues related to hearing decline.