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

Are you taken aback to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the tools of hearing, so the harm done to them due to aging, injury 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 is a dramatic change for somebody who has always been able to hear. Consider some ways that hearing loss has a significant impact on more than just the ears.

Earning Potential

A 2006 report published by the Australian company Access Economics states there’s a link between salary potential and hearing. They found that an individual with hearing loss will possibly make about 25 percent less than those that do listen, but why?

There are many things that could impact earnings. Somebody who works with no hearing assistance device like a hearing aid might miss out on weighty information. They may appear for a company meeting at 4 when it was actually at 2 pm, for instance. Employers tend to value those with astute attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can not hear the specifics.

Working environments can be loud and chaotic, too. A individual with hearing loss can become confused with that noise around them. They will 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 clicking keyboards or an air conditioner vent become conspicuous.

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, relatives, and spouses.

They may attempt to intervene and encourage this individual to recognize their hearing loss, and that leads to friction, as well. It is extremely common for people with hearing loss to sequester themselves and refuse to go out and spend some time with other people. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so that they so what the can to prevent them.

Mental Health Concerns

The problems at work and home 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 research suggests an increased risk of depression, especially among girls 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 doesn’t use hearing aids. The study participants who did not wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of sadness to sudden fits of anger more frequently than those who did wear them.

Safety Issues

Safety is always a concern 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 safety becomes a problem when a person with hearing loss spans the road 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 greater 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 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 get 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 probably something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it begins. The fantastic news is that getting help in the kind of hearing aids and other treatment choices reduces the chance of mental health problems, dementia and the various issues associated with hearing decline.

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