The loss of your hearing goes beyond your ears. It is also a quality of life and health issue. Untreated hearing loss affects work performance, relationships, and personal safety. Cognitive function, poor mental health, and social withdrawal are all associated with a decrease in hearing ability. Untreated hearing loss can impact your mental health in the following ways:
There is a strong linking between hearing loss and depression. Because a hearing loss makes communication difficult, social isolation is often experienced by those who have hearing problems. Social isolation leads to depression most often in older adults. One study finds that 11 percent of people with hearing loss also had depression. A more recent study by the National Council on Aging followed 2300 people with hearing loss and discovered that those with hearing loss were 50 percent more likely to experience depression.
Untreated hearing loss can easily lead to social isolation. The problem is not that a person can’t hear but rather that they must put forth a more significant effort to keep up with a conversation. More brainpower is needed, and the person often comes away feeling exhausted. At some point, the person with a hearing loss will decide they no longer feel like putting forth the effort to keep up and become socially withdrawn and ultimately depressed.
Sound is made up of vibrations that must be processed by the brain. This information is garbled when a person has a hearing loss which forces the brain to work extra hard. This extra effort takes the brain away from its involvement in memory and thinking resulting in cognitive decline. A study from 2013 implies that older people with a hearing loss were more disposed to undergo cognitive problems than people the same age who did not have hearing problems. This theory regarding hearing loss and cognitive decline involves the idea that a hearing loss can place a detrimental workload on the brain. A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins indicates that those with a hearing impairment have a 30 to 40 percent greater decline in cognitive ability than their peers who do not have a hearing problem.
Are you having problems hearing? Thankfully, hearing loss is treatable and can reduce mental fatigue, decrease feelings of isolation, and ease depression. Please take steps to protect your mental, emotional, and physical health. Get a hearing test today with a qualified hearing healthcare professional and if needed get fitted with a set of hearing aids. Treating your hearing loss can drastically improve your mental state. By restoring your hearing ability, you will be able to hear clearly and have the ability to communicate efficiently. Treating your hearing loss will take a load off of your brain freeing it up for other cognitive functions. Enduring the consequences of untreated hearing loss should not be an option. Take care of your mental health and get your hearing tested today.