Are you taken aback to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the means of hearing, so the damage done to them due to aging, trauma or disease 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 many other facets of their life. It’s a dramatic change for somebody who has always had the ability to hear. Consider some ways that hearing loss has a profound effect on more than just the ears.
A 2006 report released by the Australian firm Access Economics states there is a link between salary 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 with no hearing assistance device like a hearing aid may miss out on serious material. They might appear for a business meeting at 4 if it was really at 2 pm, for example. 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 loud and chaotic, too. A person with hearing loss can become confused with that noise around them. They will struggle to talk on the phone, to listen to clients and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a loud environment the desktop sounds like clicking keyboards or an air conditioner motor become conspicuous.
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 such as saying “what” a lot during conversations 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, which leads to friction, as well. It’s very common for someone with hearing loss to sequester themselves and refuse to go out and spend time with others. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so they do what they can to avoid them.
Mental Health Concerns
The problems 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 depression. Their research suggests 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 by the Senior Research Group suggests that the risk of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a person with hearing loss doesn’t use hearing aids. The study participants who did not wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of despair to sudden fits of anger more frequently than those who did wear them.
Safety is always an issue 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 if there is a danger. Even people with slight hearing loss can have difficulty hearing high-pitched tones.
Personal security becomes an issue when an individual with hearing loss crosses the street or drives a car, too. Sound serves to indicate 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 higher risk of dementia. The current theory is that the mind struggles to listen and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like short-term memory.
A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that a person 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 1 factor in memory loss conditions, but it’s an important one.
When a person has hearing loss, it’s true there is probably something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it begins. The fantastic news is that getting help with hearing aids and other treatment choices lowers the chance of mental health issues, dementia and the different issues related to hearing decline.