Hearing loss depicted as a problem that compounds by showing several cutout men toppled over on one man.

Are you amazed 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, trauma or illness is why someone can not hear, but did you know there’s more to it than the loss of one’s hearing bleeds into a number of other facets of their life. It is a dramatic change for someone who has always been able to hear. Consider some ways that hearing loss has a profound effect on more than just the ears.

Earning Potential

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 possibly make about 25 percent less than those that do hear, but why?

There are a lot of things that could impact earnings. Someone who works with no hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid may miss out on crucial material. They may appear for a business meeting at 4 if it was really at 2 pm, for example. Employers tend to value those with shrewd attention to detail, which is a challenge when you can not hear the details.

Work environments can be noisy and chaotic, too. A person with hearing loss can quickly become confused with that sound around them. They’ll struggle to talk on the phone, to listen to customers and to understand what coworkers are saying because in a noisy environment the desktop sounds like clacking keyboards or an air conditioner engine become pronounced.

Relationships

Some of the very same problems at work become a problem at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, particularly when the person with the problem continues to deny it. Little things such as saying “what” a lot during discussions and turning the TV up too loud irritate friends, family members, and spouses.

They may attempt to intervene and encourage this person to recognize their hearing loss, and that 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 so what the can to avoid them.

Mental Health Concerns

The problems 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 discovered a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and depression. Their study 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 problems including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a person with hearing loss does not use hearing aids. The study participants who didn’t wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of despair to sudden fits of anger more frequently than those who did wear them.

Safety Issues

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 security 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.

Cognitive Functioning

Medical science has made a link 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 listen and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like 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 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 1 factor in memory loss conditions, but it is an important one.

When a person has hearing loss, it is true there’s 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 reduces the risk of mental health issues, dementia and the various issues related to hearing decline.

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