How are we affected by hearing loss?

How are we affected by hearing loss?

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Hearing loss is incredibly common, affecting up to one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 75 and up to 50 percent of Americans over 75. This can lead to a variety of complications that can severely affect the quality of life of the person who suffers from hearing loss. In fact, the effects of hearing loss can cause communication problems, physical and cognitive consequences and problems in socialization. Make sure to visit an audiologist as soon as you notice a change in your ability to hear in order to be examined and to explore the treatment options.

Cognitive health

If you don’t get treatment for your hearing loss you may develop cognitive problems such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease as well as a general decline in cognitive abilities. A Johns Hopkins study found that the cognitive abilities of adults who suffered from hearing loss have decreased 30 to 40 percent faster than those without hearing loss. The study also found that adults who experienced hearing loss tend to suffer a cognitive decline several years earlier than adults without hearing loss. This may be due to several factors, such as frustration because of losing communication skills and therefore a reduced socialization.

Physical health

There are a lot of warning sounds in this world, from fire alarms to the whining of a dissatisfied cat. If we suffer from hearing loss, we might miss out on important sounds such as a voice command or a honking car that keep us safe. People who experience hearing loss are also often disoriented and have difficulties in responding appropriately in emergencies. In addition, hearing loss can lead to several other physical symptoms, like an increased blood pressure, muscle tension, headaches and fatigue.

Socialization

It can be frustrating to have a meaningful conversation in a noisy restaurant or bar. On top of that imagine how hard it is to socialize in this type of situation if you experience hearing loss also. For adults with hearing loss, it can be difficult to navigate in normal social settings such as cinemas and restaurants. Everyday sounds such as background music, film music and clinking cutlery can overwhelm people with hearing loss, making it difficult to listen to conversations and communicate effectively. This, in turn, makes socializing seem like a chore.

Vocabulary and communication

It is not surprising that people with hearing loss have communication problems. Just think of a time when you had trouble understanding what someone said to you. Remember how frustrating it may have been for you to ask them to repeat themselves over and over again. Adults with hearing problems may find that various sounds and frequencies are gradually being lost. Once these sounds are hard to hear, the corresponding letters and words are effectively removed from the brain. Although they are still able to read these words on one page, their brains are set to not hear the letters and sounds, which may impact the way sounds are interpreted over time. This may interrupt the communication pathways between the ears and the brain, which is one reason why adults with untreated hearing loss appear to suffer from a cognitive decline.

Hearing loss can be frustrating or downright debilitating. Fortunately, audiologists offer effective and personalized treatments to help people who experience hearing loss. Hearing technology has come a long way in recent decades. So do not be afraid to see an audiologist and learn more about the available options for you. It could change your whole life, not just your ability to hear.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Petar Jangelovski
Petar Jangelovski

Petar Jangelovski A former ESL teacher who enjoys reading books and going out with friends. Experienced and creative translator, and once upon a time a poet, who wrote Shakespearean-like sonnets.

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