Hear in Edmonton - Edmonton, Alberta

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 more than just your ears? Ears are the mechanisms 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 that The loss of one’s hearing bleeds into many other aspects of their life. It is a dramatic change for someone who has always had the ability to hear. Take some ways that hearing loss has a extensive impact on more than just the ears.

Earning Capability

A 2006 report released by the Australian company Access Economics states there’s a connection between earning potential and hearing. They discovered that an individual with hearing loss will potentially 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 without any hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid might miss out on weighty information. They might show up for a company meeting at 4 when it was really at 2 pm, for instance. Employers tend to value those with shrewd attention to detail, which is a challenge when you can’t hear the details.

Work environments can be noisy and chaotic, too. A person with hearing loss can quickly become confused with all that noise around them. They will struggle to talk on the telephone, to listen to customers and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a noisy environment the background sounds like clacking keyboards or an air conditioner engine become pronounced.

Relationships

Some of the very 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 like 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, also. It’s extremely common for someone 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 they so what the can to prevent them.

Mental Health Concerns

The issues 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 discovered a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and melancholy. Their research indicates an increased risk of depression, particularly among women 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 from the Senior Research Group suggests that the chance of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a individual 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 emit a high-frequency noise if there is a danger. Even people with slight 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 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 hear and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like memory.

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine found 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 is an important one.

When a person has hearing loss, it’s true there is likely something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it begins. The good news is that getting help in the kind of hearing aids and other treatment choices reduces the risk of mental health problems, dementia and the different issues associated with hearing decline.

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