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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 more than just your ears? Ears are the means of hearing, so the damage done to them because of aging, trauma or illness is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there is 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. Take some ways that hearing loss has a extensive effect 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 the ones that do hear, but why?

There are a lot of things that could affect earnings. Somebody who works with no hearing assistance device like a hearing aid may miss out on weighty information. They might appear for a company meeting at 4 when it was actually at 2 pm, for example. Employers tend to appreciate those with astute attention to detail, which is a challenge when you can not hear the details.

Working environments can be noisy and crazy, too. A individual with hearing loss can 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 clicking keyboards or an air conditioner vent become pronounced.

Relationships

Some of the same problems at work become an issue at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, especially 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 try to intervene and encourage this individual to recognize their hearing loss, which leads to friction, also. It is extremely common for people with hearing loss to detach 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 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 discovered a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and depression. 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 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 does not 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

Security is always a concern for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, while it’s a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alert, work based on noise. They exude a high-frequency noise if there is a danger. Even people with minor hearing loss can have difficulty hearing high pitched tones.

Personal security becomes a problem when a person with hearing loss crosses the road 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 listen 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 an individual with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to have 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 someone has hearing loss, it’s true there is probably something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it starts. The good 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 different issues related to hearing decline.

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