The Damaging Impacts of Ignoring Hearing Loss

Man with cardiac condition also suffering from hearing loss.

The regrettable truth is, as you age, your hearing starts to go. Approximately 38 million individuals in the United States deal with some form of hearing loss, though since hearing loss is anticipated as we get older, many people decide to leave it unchecked. But beyond how well you hear, disregarding hearing loss can have serious negative side effects.

Why is the decision to simply cope with hearing loss one that many people consider? According to an AARP study, more than one-third of senior citizens think of hearing loss as a minor issue that can be handled fairly easily, while greater than half of the participants reported cost as a concern. The costs of ignoring hearing loss, though, can become a great deal higher because of complications and side effects that come with leaving it untreated. Here are the most prevalent adverse effects of ignoring hearing loss.


Most people won’t instantly put two and two together from fatigue to hearing loss. Instead, they will attribute fatigue to countless different ideas, like slowing down because of aging or a side-effect of medication. The truth is that the less you can hear, the more your body works to compensate for it, leaving you feeling tired. Think about taking an exam like the SAT where your brain is entirely focused on processing the task in front of you. You would probably feel fairly depleted when you’re done. When you are struggling to hear, it’s a similar situation: your brain is trying to fill in the blanks you’re missing in conversations – which, when there is too much background noise, is even more difficult – and simply attempting to process information uses precious energy. Looking after yourself takes energy that you won’t have with this kind of chronic exhaustion. To adapt, you will skip life-essential activities such as working out or eating healthy.

Decline of Brain Function

A number of studies by Johns Hopkins University linked hearing loss to reduced cognitive functions , increased loss of brain tissue, and dementia. While these links are correlations, instead of causations, it’s theorized by researchers that, again, the more mental resources that are spent attempting to fill in the blanks of a conversation, the less there are to focus on other things like comprehension and memorization. And decreasing brain function, as we get older is, directly connected to an increased draw on our cognitive resources. Besides that, it’s believed that the process of mental decline can be slowed and mental fitness can be maintained by sustained exchange of ideas, usually through conversation. Fortunately, cognitive specialist and hearing specialist can use the known link between cognitive decline and hearing loss to collaborate to undertake research and establish treatments that are encouraging in the near future.

Mental Health Problems

The National Council on the Aging found, from a study of more than two thousand senior citizens, that mental health issues which have a negative emotional and social impact, are more common if there is also untreated hearing loss. The link between hearing loss and mental health issues makes sense since people who suffer from hearing loss frequently have difficulty communicating with other people in social or family situations. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can eventually lead to depression. Feelings of exclusion and isolation can worsen to anxiety and even paranoia if left untreated. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you need to consult a mental health professional and you should also be aware that hearing aids have been shown to help people recover from some types of depression.

Heart Disease

If one portion of your body, which is an interconnected machine, stops functioning correctly, it might have an impact on apparently unrelated bodily functions. This is the way it is with our hearts and ears. For instance, hearing loss will occur when blood doesn’t easily flow from the heart to the inner ear. Another affliction connected to heart disease is diabetes which also has an effect on the nerve endings of the inner ear and sometimes causes the brain to get scrambled information. Individuals who have detected some amount of hearing loss and who have a history of heart disease or diabetes in their families should consult with both a hearing and cardiac specialist to figure out whether the hearing loss is indeed caused by a heart condition, since overlooking the symptoms might lead to serious, possibly fatal repercussions.

If you want to start living a healthier life, contact us so we can help you resolve any negative effects of hearing loss that you may suffer.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.