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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, injury 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 aspects of their life. It’s a dramatic change for someone who has always had the ability to hear. Take some ways that hearing loss has a significant impact on more than just the ears.

Earning Capability

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

There are a lot of things that could affect earnings. Somebody who works without any hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid may miss out on crucial material. They might show up for a company meeting at 4 if it was really at 2 pm, for example. Managers tend to appreciate those with shrewd attention to detail, which is 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 that noise around them. They’ll struggle to talk on the phone, to listen to clients and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a noisy environment the desktop sounds like clacking keyboards or an air conditioner motor 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 person 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 attempt to intervene and encourage this individual to recognize their hearing loss, and that leads to friction, as well. It is extremely common for someone 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 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 depression. Their research suggests an increased risk of depression, especially among women and individuals 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 problems 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 often 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 alarm, work based on noise. They emit a high-frequency noise if there’s a danger. Even people with minor hearing loss can have difficulty hearing high pitched tones.

Personal security becomes an issue when a person with hearing loss spans 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 isn’t clear why people with hearing loss have a greater 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 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 is true there is likely 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 risk of mental health problems, dementia and the various issues related to hearing decline.

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