Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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 more than just your ears? Ears are the method of hearing, so the damage done to them due to aging, trauma or illness is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there is more to it than the loss of one’s hearing bleeds into many other facets of their life. It’s a dramatic change for somebody who has always had the ability to hear. Take some ways that hearing loss has a extensive effect on more than just the ears.

Earning Potential

A 2006 report released by the Australian firm Access Economics states there is a link between salary potential and hearing. They discovered that an individual with hearing loss could potentially make about 25 percent less than the ones that do hear, but why?

There are many things that could impact earnings. Someone who works with no hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid may miss out on weighty information. They may appear for a company meeting at 4 if it was really at 2 pm, for example. Employers tend to value those with keen attention to detail, which is a challenge when you can’t hear the specifics.

Work environments can be noisy and crazy, 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 desktop sounds like clicking keyboards or an air conditioner engine become conspicuous.

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 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 detach themselves and refuse to go out and spend 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 issues 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 indicates an increased risk of depression, especially among girls 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 from the Senior Research Group suggests that the chance of mental health issues 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 that 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 alert, work based on noise. They emit a high-frequency noise if there’s a danger. Even people with slight hearing loss can have difficulty hearing high pitched tones.

Personal security becomes a problem when a individual with hearing loss crosses the road or drives a car, too. Sound serves to indicate 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 brain struggles to hear and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like memory.

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that even 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 forms of dementia. Hearing health is just 1 factor in memory loss conditions, but it’s an important one.

When a person has hearing loss, it’s true there’s probably something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it starts. The fantastic news is that getting help in the form of hearing aids and other treatment choices lowers the risk of mental health issues, dementia and the various issues associated with hearing decline.

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