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

Are you surprised to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the means of hearing, so the harm done to them due to aging, trauma or illness is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there’s more to it than the loss of one’s hearing bleeds into many other facets of their life. It is 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.

Earning Ability

A 2006 report released by the Australian company Access Economics states there is 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 a lot of things that could affect earnings. Somebody who works with no hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid might miss out on serious material. They might appear for a company meeting at 4 if it was actually at 2 pm, for example. Employers tend to value those with keen attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can’t hear the details.

Working environments can be loud and chaotic, too. A person with hearing loss can quickly become confused with all that noise around them. They’ll struggle to speak on the telephone, to listen to clients and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a noisy environment the background sounds like clicking keyboards or an air conditioner engine 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 conversations 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, which leads to friction, as well. It is extremely common for people 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 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 performed by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders discovered a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and melancholy. Their study suggests an increased risk of depression, especially 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 chance of mental health problems 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 that did wear them.

Safety Issues

Safety is always an issue for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, while it is a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alarm, work based on sound. They emit a high-frequency noise when there is a danger. Even people with minor hearing loss can have trouble hearing high pitched tones.

Personal safety becomes a problem when a person with hearing loss crosses the street or drives a car, too. Sound serves to indicate problems like a car coming down the street or a horn honking.

Cognitive Functioning

Medical science has made a link 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 brain struggles to hear and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like 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 a person 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 someone 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 form of hearing aids and other treatment options lowers the chance of mental health problems, dementia and the different issues related to hearing decline.

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