Are you surprised to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the mechanisms of hearing, so the harm done to them due to aging, injury or illness is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there’s more to it than the loss of a person’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 profound impact on more than just the ears.
A 2006 report published by the Australian company Access Economics states there is a link between earning potential and hearing. They discovered that an individual with hearing loss could potentially make about 25 percent less than the ones that do hear, but why?
There are many things that could impact earnings. Somebody who works without any hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid may miss out on crucial information. They might appear for a business meeting at 4 when it was really at 2 pm, for instance. Employers tend to value those with keen attention to detail, which is a challenge when you can’t hear the details.
Work environments can be noisy and chaotic, too. A person with hearing loss can become confused with all that sound around them. They’ll struggle to talk on the telephone, to listen to customers and to understand what coworkers are saying because in a loud environment the background sounds like clacking keyboards or an air conditioner engine become pronounced.
Some of the same problems at work become a problem at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, especially when the person 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, relatives, and spouses.
They may attempt to intervene and encourage this person to recognize their hearing loss, which leads to friction, as well. It’s extremely common for someone with hearing loss to isolate themselves and refuse to go out and spend some 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 found a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and melancholy. Their research indicates an increased risk of depression, especially among women and people under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to about 11 percent with hearing loss.
A second study by the Senior Research Group indicates that the chance 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 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, while it is a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alert, work based on sound. 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 an issue 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 road or a horn honking.
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 mind struggles to listen and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like 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 a person with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Hearing health is just one factor in memory loss conditions, but it is 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 starts. The good news is that getting help in the form of hearing aids and other treatment choices lowers the risk of mental health issues, dementia and the various issues associated with hearing decline.